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Market Watch: What Can $5 Million Buy In Colorado Outside Of Denver?

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Updated Jun 19, 2024, 03:50pm EDT

For the second year in a row, the U.S. News & World Report has named Denver the hottest real estate market in the United States. The top-ranking position was attributed to the Mile High City’s low unemployment, minimal mortgage delinquencies, low rental vacancy rates for investors and favorable ratio of building permits to job growth.

As is often the case with hot metropolitan markets, the cities and towns surrounding Denver are reaping the benefits of the capital’s success. According to the latest market reports by Colorado’s leading independent brokerage Slifer Smith & Frampton, in many markets outside of Denver—like Boulder, Vail Valley and the burgeoning Longmont—average sale prices are on the rise as many Denverites opt for more space and access to recreational amenities.

Distinct in their lifestyles, these markets are equally varied in their luxury inventory. From a downtown residence to a ski duplex to a lakeside home, check out what $5 million gets you in Boulder, Vail and Longmont.

Boulder: Downtown living at nature’s doorstep

Over the past few years, the arrival of tech giants Google, Amazon and Apple, paired with exceptional access to outdoor recreation and the nationwide shift towards lifestyle purchases during the pandemic, has alchemized into a Boulder real estate boom. In 2019, the median sale price in Boulder was just under $590,000. Last year, it was $825,000.

At the higher end of the market, sales above $5 million have shot up from single to double digits. Nowhere have these sales been more concentrated than in Boulder’s western foothills, just outside downtown. Within walking distance of the city’s beloved trailheads, as well as some of its most popular restaurants, homes in neighborhoods like Flagstaff, Chautauqua and Mapleton Hill embody the balanced partnership Boulder has with the natural world.

One such home, at 820 6th Street, is quintessentially Boulder in both design and spirit. Sitting just north of Chautauqua Park, the five-bedroom residence is partially veiled from the street by a thick canopy of trees that bear vibrant pink flowers in the spring. Stone wraps around the base of the front facade, complemented by wood beams that frame the portico. The result is a tidy yet rustic exterior. Any traces of quaintness, however, are left at the front door. Inside, stylish design elements like dark-stained walnut floors, textured wallpaper and deep moldings give the interior a sense of understated elegance. Archways serve as a motif throughout, repeating at the top of entryways, built-in shelves and interior windows. The home’s 5,000-square-foot scale makes for generous living spaces across three levels. Complete with an array of patios, decks and stretches of yard, the back of the property houses arguably the best views of the surrounding mountains.


The listing for 820 6th Street is held by Joel Ripmaster of Slifer Smith & Frampton.



Vail: Three-story retreat in a legendary ski town

Known the world over for its dramatic mountain slopes and renowned ski resort, Vail is no stranger to $5 million listings—nor $10 million for that matter. In desirable enclaves Vail Village and Lionshead, median sale prices sat at $12.35 million in 2023 or roughly $3,000 per square foot. East Vail, however, offers more reasonably priced homes (if your definition of reasonable is an average of $4.1 million). Around that price, buyers can expect to find duplex properties, like this four-bedroom home.

Centered by a recently renovated main level, the 3,874-square-foot residence rises three stories. On the lowest level is the property’s two-car garage. At the top are two of the home’s four en-suite bedrooms, including the primary suite with fireplace and sundeck access. Those apprehensive about lugging groceries up a flight of stairs will be glad to hear that all levels are serviced by an elevator. Living spaces on the main level are tailor-made for multi-generational gatherings with an open-floor design that moves from the family room to the dining area to the kitchen without interruption. Thanks to its built-in corner booth, the dining area can accommodate seating for 12. If that doesn’t suffice, there are three more spots to sit at the kitchen’s eat-in counter space. The main living area features some of the home’s most eye-catching finishes, including a floor-to-ceiling Colorado Buff stone fireplace, an arched transom window and a barrel-vaulted ceiling line with wood planks.

In addition to the top-level sundeck, an array of elevated outdoor living spaces line the duplex’s exterior. Easy access to downtown Vail and the Vail Ski Resort is available via a shuttle. And less than a mile away the Vail Racquet Club offers amenities such as a fitness center, hot tubs and pools.


The listing for 4852 Meadow Lane is held by John Tyler and Rick Pyrog of Slifer Smith & Frampton.



Longmont: Mountainous space by the lake

As the fastest-growing region in the state, Northern Colorado has seen a notable 29.77% population increase since 2010. Despite the recent popularity, the region continues to be one of the more affordable areas located outside of the Denver metropolitan area, though home prices have shown rapid growth over the past decade. One of the region’s largest cities, Longmont, is known as a haven for outdoor enthusiasts while still being less than an hour from Denver. With an average home price of $497,000, listings in the $5 million range are rare. However, those that do exist, like this five-bedroom lakeside property, offer much in the way of space, especially when compared to nearby Boulder.

Covering six acres on the northern shores of Crystal Lake, the five-bedroom mansion encompasses a whopping 9,440 square feet. As you near the estate from a winding road that ends at a circular driveway, the vast structure begins to eclipse the backdrop of the 14ers, Colorado’s tallest mountains. Uninterrupted views, however, can thankfully be found just about anywhere throughout the property.

As is expected for a home of such magnitude, amenity spaces are plentiful including a parlor, formal dining room and an au pair suite. Standing at the convergence of hallways that lead to separate wings is a bright two-story foyer that accentuates the home’s grand scale. In a similar vein, the main living room puts into perspective the immensity of the interior with towering cathedral ceilings accented by arched beams. Sharing the grounds is a collection of gardens, covered porches, patios and fire pits, as well as 300 feet of lake frontage.


The listing for 9402 Crystal Lane is held by Joel Ripmaster of Slifer Smith & Frampton.


Slifer Smith & Frampton is a member of Forbes Global Properties, an invitation-only network of top-tier brokerages worldwide and the exclusive real estate partner of Forbes.


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