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Denver is a patchwork of different home styles that developed over the last century. With influence from the first and second World Wars, postwar baby boom, Arts and Crafts movement, and modern into contemporary design trends, Denver’s houses are products of a long architectural history.
The prices of houses for sale in Denver continue to rise, inventory continues to plummet, and people continue to make the move to the Mile High City. Despite this, some homes sit on the market for months, yet hungry buyers scoop up other properties the same day they list. The inconsistency and imbalance prompted us to figure out why.
If we could tap into why homes perform the way they do on the Denver real estate market, we could help Colorado buyers and sellers better understand how to market and negotiate their home sales. We pulled existing home sales data to investigate the Denver real estate market, and our data analyst Evan Richards started to see a trend.
In Denver the style of a house drastically changes the way it sells. Here’s what we found:
|Most Affordable/Most Prevalent||Traditional|
|Locally Influenced||Denver Square|
|Largest Lot Size||Rustic Contemporary|
What the Ecosystem of Homes on the Denver Real Estate Market Looks Like
From simple Traditional houses built during World War II to decked out Mountain Contemporaries, home styles on the Denver real estate market are diverse. We sifted through the data on Denver house styles and pulled out the ten most popular types across the city:
Bungalow, Cabin, Chalet, Contemporary, Denver Square, Mountain Contemporary, Rustic Contemporary, Traditional, Tudor, and Victorian.
Here’s the spread of home styles across Metro Denver:
Traditional Homes: The Most Affordable House in Denver Since 1941
With the onset of World War II came the necessity for affordable, simple architecture. Traditional, also called Minimal Traditional homes, grew out of prewar, post, and wartime years and spread throughout the city. These mass produced houses are small one story boxes with simple roofs, siding, and square floorplans.
Originally constructed to create cheap housing developments, Traditionals are spacious compared to the 750 square foot houses the Federal Housing Administration deemed as the minimum size for livability. Now simple Traditional Denver homes pepper the entire city and remain the most prevalent house type in Denver today.
Traditional houses have a larger lot size than most of the other popular home types: on average they are one fifth of an acre. Though the size of the lot is bigger, the affordable construction and simple, minimal design makes these homes, on average, the most affordable in Denver with an average price per square foot of $182.
The smallest homes in Metro Denver are also the homes that move off the market the fastest. Bungalows, a smaller variation of Craftsman style homes, developed out of the Arts and Crafts movement of 1890-1910. Bungalows in Denver were primarily built from 1900 through 1930 in direct response to a fascination with the style, which originated in Britain.
You can see where the trend was most popular in Denver in the early 20th century as Bungalows cluster around Highway 25 in the Central Southern part of the city and in the Northeast and Northwest quadrants. Tudor homes, also a manifestation of the Arts and Crafts style, concentrate in similar areas, though most of these houses stand in the Northeast part of the city.
Bungalows are more expensive to build because of larger foundation requirements, larger lot size requirements, larger roofs, and their often intricate details. The price per square foot of these homes, on average, is $272, making them the second most expensive house on our list.
If you’re a buyer looking to move into one of these quaint, well constructed homes, keep a close eye on any listed for sale, especially within your target neighborhood. These houses last 85 days on the market on average, with some selling the same day they were listed. The average 85 day turnaround makes bungalows the fastest selling homes on our list.
Tudors: The Most In-Demand Homes on the Denver Real Estate Market
Tudor homes, like Bungalows, originated from the Arts and Crafts movement and started popping up throughout Metro Denver in between 1910 and 1920. You’ll find Tudors concentrated in the Park Hill neighborhood because the area developed at the same time the Tudor style was popular: most homes in Park Hill were built from 1920-1930.
Tudor homes also concentrate in the Wash Park and Belcaro neighborhoods. These areas, like the Park Hill neighborhood, were erected in the early 20th century, when Tudor styles were at the height of popularity in Denver.
Intricate Denver Tudors have the second lowest days on market average and, most notably, the highest average price per square foot out of all other Denver home styles. Like bungalows, Tudors also cost more to build but these homes are larger than bungalows on average. Tudors get the best average sale to list price out of all Denver styles.
The Denver Square: A House Style Named for the City
The Denver Square is a local variation on the Foursquare style. Denver Squares are boxy in shape and developed in reaction to the overly detailed look of Victorian homes. Denver squares are two story constructions with large, plain facades. These homes are mostly in the central part of the city and have a high sale to list ratio.
Though Denver Squares are mountain high’s own variation on an 1890s-1930s much-loved style, the localized house type is less popular on the Denver real estate market than others. Denver Squares have a longer time spent on market than Bungalows, Tudors, Victorians, and Traditional homes, respectively.
Chalets: The Most Elusive Homes in Denver
“Mountain” or “Ski” Chalet style houses are majestic mountain retreats with pointed facades and triangular windows that stretch across the entire front of the house. Chalets typically have warm wood exteriors with wraparound porches in the front. You may recognize this style from the 2014 HGTV Dream Home giveaway in Lake Tahoe. These large, luxurious vacation homes are often associated with the Chalet style but most Chalets in Denver take after the Swiss Chalet style.
“Mountain” and “Ski” Chalets developed out of the Swiss Chalet style, which is the type of Chalet you’ll find across Denver. Swiss Chalets are 2 story homes built with inexpensive materials. Distinct from the “Ski” style, these houses are more modest with a tall rectangle shape and stone that decorates the exterior.
Swiss and Ski Chalets are few and far between in Denver but their elusiveness has little effect on how quickly these houses sell. According to our data, Chalets take significantly longer to sell than Denver’s fastest selling house. Where a Bungalow sells in 85 days to sell on average, a Chalet home takes 124.
What These Numbers Mean for Colorado Buyers and Sellers
The style of a Denver house directly impacts how fast the home will sell and how much it will sell for.
If your home is a fast selling, high priced style, use that to your advantage when you sell. For example, if you own a Bungalow, be sure to play up its style, history, and the solidity of its craftsmanship in your listing. Buyers should know to put their best offer forward and make sure their offer stands out.
More modest, affordable homes like Traditionals are good negotiation properties for buyers. Since these homes are widespread and consistently sell for less, buyers can use these criteria to their advantage when they make an offer and finalize the deal. If you are selling one of these more modest properties, be sure to play up what makes it different–and more valuable–than the masses. Draw attention to the great neighborhood, any notable craftsmanship, amenities, and updates you made to the property.
Whether you’re moving to Denver, you’re a new transplant, or you’ve lived in the city for years, the Denver real estate market is a big part of what’s happening in the city. Home prices continue to rise as the ecosystem of Denver real estate develops in 2017.
Denver’s real estate market is competitive, dynamic, and fast. Our data can help you navigate the Denver real estate market, but only a real estate agent at the top of her field can get you the results you need.
If you’re a seller who needs to list a home that consistently sells for less or that sits on the market, a top Denver real estate agent can help you sell 1.6x faster, for 104% of the list price, and make you $19,000 over other agents on average.
How Property Types Perform in Denver’s Real Estate Market
We pulled the numbers on the ten most popular house styles in Denver. We looked through days on market to find the fastest selling and most in demand houses, price per square foot to find the most expensive and most affordable, and the sale to list price ratio for houses that sell way under their list price.
Then we figured out which styles stood out in each category. We sorted by architectural type and took averages of each type’s days on market, lot size, price per square foot, and sale to list price ratio.
The hard numbers we pulled:
|Denver House Type||Average Days on Market||Average Lot Size||Average Price Per Square Foot||Average Sale to List Price Ratio|