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denver cost of living

Denver Cost of Living [2021] | đź’° Can You Afford Denver? [Data, Tips, Info]

Denver, Colorado serves as the state’s capital. It’s a major economic hub in the western United States, and a popular destination for skiers and nature lovers. There are plenty of fantastic reasons to relocate to Denver! But will Denver work with your budget? If you’re planning a move to Denver, you’re wondering what your lifestyle will cost once you’re settled. And though Denver comes with many opportunities and recreational activities, is it worth the cost of living? It’s important to look beyond your real estate budget when relocating to Denver: the areas tax rates, prices of everyday items, utility costs, average salaries, and so many more factors will come into play. 

Denver Cost of Living Index

How much will you need to earn to live in Denver? When changing your address, money is definitely on your mind. You need to know if your new Denver life will be affordable once your relocation is complete, and there are a lot of factors at play when figuring that out. Whether or not you can afford Denver depends on the size of your family, your lifestyle, and your salary/earning power. The best place to start when determining if Denver will fit into your budget is by looking at Denver’s cost of living index. Denver’s overall cost of living index is 10.8% higher than the national average. If you’re relocating from a much larger city, that could mean a lot of savings!

Reviewing the cost of living index of a city is a great way to look at the big picture, but it’s not a figure that can be applied across the board. You should always break it down to see where you can expect to spend more versus where you might save. There are a lot of factors that go into calculating Denver’s cost of living, and not everything is 10.8% more expensive there! In fact, the biggest place you can expect to spend more is housing. Real estate in Denver is 37.8% higher than the national average. Healthcare is 3.6% more expensive, transportation is .8% higher, and miscellaneous goods and services are 6.5% higher. But there are major bright spots in Denver’s cost of living! The average cost of groceries in Denver are 2% less expensive, and utilities in Denver are almost 20% less expensive than the national average. According to the consumer price index in Denver, people living in Denver spend 27.5% of their income on housing, 35.5% on goods and services, and almost 14% on groceries.

Cost of Groceries, Utilities, Gas & Household Items in Denver

It’s a great idea to look at the prices of everyday items when moving to a new city! Depending on where you’re coming from, your daily expenses in Denver could change a lot. It’s important to look at the average cost of utilities, grocery prices, and other price tags attached to items you’re likely to use often. The average water bill in Denver is $53.15. The average electric bill in Denver is $78 per month. You can budget around $337 a month for the average monthly food cost in Denver.

What does it cost to live in Denver when you factor in everything else? Here is a look at what Denver residents spend on common goods and services to give you a better understanding of what to expect:

Typical Denver living expenses:

  • Steak (Ribeye, 1lb) $12.90
  • Milk (regular 1/2 gallon) $1.71
  • Eggs (1 Dozen) $1.58
  • Potatoes (5 lb bag) $2.79
  • Bread (1 loaf) $3.17
  • Beer (Heineken’s 6 pack) $9.06
  • Average Cell Phone Bill $182.07
  • Average Cost of Gasoline (per gallon) $2.442
  • Average Cost of Utilities (per month) $109.21
  • McDonald’s Burger (1/4 Pounder) $4.82
  • Large Pizza $10.66
  • Movie Ticket (1st run) $12.90

Denver Real Estate Market

Real estate is what mostly drives Denver’s cost of living index to be higher. Living in the mountains in this big city comes with a cost! The average price for a home in Denver is $491,700, which works out to be $329 per square foot. The real estate trends in Dever are very competitive. Real estate prices are up almost 13% since last year, and houses sell 66% faster. Homes usually go to pending in 9 days, and often sell for 1% over asking price with waived contingencies.

The homeownership rate is in Denver 49.3%. Residents of Denver enjoy a 22.9 minute commute, which is a few minutes quicker than the national average. Most Denver households have two cars, and 68.5% of commuters choose to drive alone to work.

Denver Rental Market – Average Rents in Denver

denver rental market

If buying right away isn’t what you want to do, you won’t have a problem in Denver: more people rent their homes than own! 50.7% of Denver residents choose to rent. The average rent in Denver is $1,631, and that price has declined by 2% since last year. The average Denver apartment is 844 square feet.

If you’re looking to rent in a more affordable Denver neighborhood, look in Barnum, Mar Lee, or Westwood. Mid-range neighborhoods include Chaffee Park, Regis, and Hampden. The most expensive Denver neighborhoods are Congress Park, Cherry Creek, and LoDo.

Average Salary & Household Income in Denver

Relocating doesn’t guarantee you will earn the same wages you’re currently used to. The average salary in Denver is $71,000. If you’re an hourly worker, you can expect to earn around $20.56 an hour. Of course, your earning power depends greatly on the industry in which you work and your experience, but it’s helpful to look at Denver’s average income and hourly rates. Some of the most popular jobs in Denver include software engineers, project managers, and registered nurses. Software engineers in Denver earn an average of $83,000 a year; senior software engineers earn $114,000. Project managers make about $75,000, and operations managers make an average of $67,000 annually. When it comes to hourly employees, registered nurses make an average of $31 an hour, whereas certified nurses assistants make $15. Wages are on the rise in Denver, increasing by about 0.6% a year.

The top occupations in Denver are management, sales, and office and administrative support positions. The biggest industries in which Denver residents work are professional/scientific/technical service, healthcare and social assistance, and retail.

Denver’s median household income is $68,377 a number that is growing by about 4.83% a year. Unfortunately, about 13.8% of Denver residents live below the poverty line, which is slightly higher than the national average of 13.1%. The demographic most affected by poverty in Denver is females aged 25-34.

Income, Sales, & Property Taxes in Denver

denver tax

Taxes are another important budgetary factor to look at before changing your address. Income, sales, and property taxes can change a lot from state to state, and even city to city. Here’s a look at Denver’s tax rates:

Denver Income Tax Rate

Colorado’s income tax is 4.63% across the board, regardless of your salary.

Denver Sales Tax Rate

Denver sales tax is 8.81%, which is split four ways: 2.9% goes to the state of Colorado, 4.81% goes to the city, 1% goes to the greater Denver area, and .1% goes to the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District.

Denver Property Taxes

Property taxes are determined by the size of your property, its value, and your lot lines. The Denver property tax is about 7.42% of the assessed value of your property. The national average is 1.080%.

Denver vs. Austin Cost Of Living

When comparing, is Denver vs Austin cost of living better? Many people look between Denver, CO and Austin, TX. The cost of living in Denver is 7% higher than in Austin, but that’s not for everything. Healthcare is cheaper in Denver, and employers tend to pay more in Denver as well.

Can you afford Denver?

Denver is generally considered an affordable place to live with respect to the rest of the country. Whether or not Denver is affordable for you depends on many factors, and definitely depends on the lifestyle you’d like to live! If you’re coming from a very expensive area, you may be able to save big by relocating to Denver. 

Will you be moving to Denver in the near future? If so, call our affordable, highly trained Denver movers at Wasatch Movers! We will assist you every step of the way! Call us today at 720-798-2878 to get started on your free quote!