College Towns in Colorado Weathering the Real Estate Storm


While many of the nation’s real estate markets navigate some turbulent waters this year in the midst of questionable economic conditions and still reeling in the aftermath of a bursting housing bubble, Colorado college towns have been weathering the storm rather well.

Let’s take a look at four of the key real estate markets that have enjoyed a relative stability due to some unique factors seen throughout these college towns in the Centennial State.

Fort Collins

With a bustling population of about 150,000, Fort Collins plays home to Colorado State University, whose students make up about 20% of the city’s population. While students come from all over the U.S., about 80% of them are Colorado residents.

Because a lot of CSU graduates stay in Colorado, many even remaining in Fort Collins, the real estate market has enjoyed an unrivaled stability. While some of the higher end houses caused problems during the recession, average home values in the town are up about 4.5% year over year.


For University of Colorado students, Boulder is the true home where the Buffalos roam. A spirit college town at the foot of the Rockies, Boulder has managed to withstand the symptoms of the real estate market collapse remarkably well, and remains an example of financial fortitude for the whole country. Homes sold faster than the national average in the preceding two years, and from 2011 to 2012, they were selling like hotcakes, to the tune of a 23% increase year over year in number of houses sold.

Boulder is perhaps the hallmark in this list. The college presence in Boulder plays a key role in its resilience to the rough market. The beautiful landscape, sunny weather and mountain town charm continue to help land Boulder on plenty of ‘great places to live’ and ‘where to go to college’ lists. Furthermore, the research at CU attracts R & D investors, government labs and innovative private enterprises.


While Boulder and Fort Collins have seen some of the same trends and enjoyed similar stability in spite of volatile housing markets, Durango is a bit different. Durango is home to Fort Lewis College, a smaller institute in relation to CU and CSU. The population is relatively smaller as well, and the demographic is changing rapidly.

Durango endured a bit more damage from the storm than Boulder and Fort Collins, mostly with slower home sales and slipping valuations. Still, it wasn’t hit as hard as the rest of the country on average, and the market climate is shifting for many reasons. The types of property owners and home buyers in Durango aren’t the suburbanites from a previous decade or so, perhaps contributing to an upcoming overhaul in the real estate landscape altogether hopefully fostering quicker recovery.


This small Colorado college town, bolstered by its renowned Colorado School of Mines, represents a unique real estate market compared to other surrounding cities due to the diverse factors influencing it. Housing sales prices have increased steadily over the past year, with prime properties in the Lookout Mountain area leading the way.

But the college presence isn’t the only thing Golden has going for it. The Coors Brewery at the heart of the city, through which about a quarter million tourists pass each year, represents a major economic boon for the town as well as thousands of jobs. It’s no wonder, then, how Golden has kept pace, given the healthy tourism, a prestigious engineering college and the largest single brewery in the world.


This blog was provided by Clay Adams: Clay lives and works in Denver,CO as a guest blog writer and content manager for