The Perfect Neighborhood for You

Published on: March 5th, 2008

There isn’t just one perfect North Metro neighborhood for everybody. What’s great for one, doesn’t work for another. That’s OK, because the real estate market up here has something for everyone, whether you value a small-town neighborhood feel, an expensive downtown setting or living next door to a shiny new recreation center. Sure, the market has cooled considerably in the last few years, but that means if you pick a great neighborhood, you’ll be buying your ideal home at a buyer’s price. We pooled the ideas of a few area professionals to give us insight into which of these areas are right for you.

Panel of Experts:
Forrest Noble of Re/Max Boulder has 18 years of experience in residential and investment real estate with a focus on Boulder County. Reach him at 303.441.5694 or forrestnoble@gmail.com.

Susie Smyle of Re/Max Northwest has 10 years of experience in investment and residential real estate throughout the Front Range, Summit County and Costa Rica. Reach her at 303.931.1768 or ssmyle@comcast.net.

Ann Napier with Coldwell Banker has 8 years of experience serving the Longmont region including Boulder, Larimer and Weld counties. Reach her at 720.652.5921 or napier4039@aol.com.

Erie Commons, Erie

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Where: Leon Wurl Parkway and Briggs Street.
Who: Young professionals and families who like unique homes and access to a burgeoning old town.
Typical Home: Detached single-family, two-story suburban home with three bedrooms, two baths and a little more than 2,000 square feet.
Typical Price: High $200,000s. school district: St. Vrain Valley Schools.
Why: Location, location, location has been the one staple in predicting home values and popularity. A few years ago, many would have scoffed at the notion that anything in Erie had the “L” quality. In the last three months, however, a community recreation center, library and senior facility have opened within walking distance of Erie Commons. Significant commercial development that will include retail, office space, restaurants and a day spa are almost complete. Old Town Erie is just a half-mile away, offering a nice juxtaposition to the shiny new growth. The location, coupled with well-built homes by multiple builders, means the Commons strays from the typical cookie-cutter suburban look and feel. More is on the way, including row homes and other offerings that will wrap around the new commercial development, giving a decidedly urban appeal to an otherwise suburban town.

Anthem Ranch, Broomfield

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Where: Highway 7 and Lowell Boulevard.
Who: Active seniors who want their grandkids living around the corner.
Typical Home: Ranch style ranging from 1,550 to 2,500 square feet.
Typical Price: $300,000.
Why: Because you are older than 55, the kids are long gone and you don’t like listening to a punk teen throw a party every Friday night next door. But that doesn’t mean you’ve slowed one bit, quite the contrary, in fact. In this age-restricted development, there’s a newly built recreation center that offers all sorts of activities to keep you busy, trails galore nearby and a tremendous dedication to open space. Plus, it’s close to shopping and eating at Larkridge, and healthcare at Exempla Hospital. The sweeping views of the mountains and ample open space nearby give a noticeable country-living feel in an otherwise developed suburban market. Next door is Anthem Highlands, a similar neighborhood without age restriction, allowing grandparents to have their kids and grandkids nearby.

Renaissance, Longmont

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Where: Southwest Longmont.
Who: Families who love proximity to school, jobs and Boulder.
Typical Home: Dwellings start at modest condos, move to 2,500 square foot, spacious homes and top out at million-dollar custom builds.
Typical Price: Condos in the high $200,000s, spacious homes around $450,000, and custom builds hitting $1 million-plus. school district: St. Vrain Valley School District.
Why: Because books are awfully heavy for children to carry a long way to school, and heck, you hate driving far to pick them up, go to work or even head into Boulder for shopping and dining. Three shiny new schools are within a quick walk or ride from the multiple Renaissance neighborhoods of southwest Longmont. Also, with proximity to major employers such as Xilinx, Seagate and Digital Globe, plus a quick drive to Boulder, this neighborhood is attracting those who want to be near everything, but still value the space that comes with living in a subdivision. Plus, there’s a broad range of home types to meet virtually any need and they are all really new. We suggest the Mountain Meadow neighborhood of Renaissance for beautiful homes offering more than 2,500 square feet of living space plus ample size yards for less than a half-million dollars.

The Crossing at Riverdale, Thornton

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Where: Quebec Street between 136th and 128th avenues.
Who: Those looking for a value—in an area not rife with foreclosures—and who love the Colorado Rockies.
Typical Home: Four bedrooms, 2,500 square feet plus.
Typical Price: High $200,000s to $350,000. school district: Adams 27J-Brighton.
Why: Basically, you are not afraid of common real estate warnings. In a tepid housing market, the neighborhoods in North Metro that are west of 1-25 seem to be the safer bet. Head east into the plains and you’re playing with fire—usually. The Crossing bucks that trend. Inside this community, you’ll find 2,500-square-foot homes with price tags hovering around $300,000. That’s $120 a square foot. It’s not too good to be true unlike some other affordable subdivisions to the east. The nearby comps are pretty good, too. Todd Helton and three other Colorado Rockies live in nearby neighborhoods full of million-dollar estates, which means property values are safe. The emerging 120th corridor gives these homes a great outlook for the future. Northlands Mall, an offshoot of the ever-so-popular Southlands Mall in southeast Aurora, could skyrocket home values in the next decade.

Old Town, Louisville

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Where: South of South Boulder Road, west of Highway 42 and within a few blocks of Main Street.
Who: Couples who find comfort and value in fixing up a home and living in “Mayberry.”
Typical Home: Two bedroom, 1,200 square foot bungalows, up to 100 years old with character (ahem, fixer-upper qualities).
Typical Price: $275,000 needs some work/$325,000 already remodeled. school district: Boulder Valley School District.
Why: There’s something calming about moving into a historic home just blocks from a quaint downtown. Old Town has seen a lot of fixer uppers flood the market in the last few years giving couples young and old (and even a few families sick of the typical ’burbs) the chance to put a little sweat equity into their homes in exchange for a discount. There’s also that sleepy, “Mayberry” feeling—walk to the pool for a swim or to Main Street for a bite to eat. Neighbors get to know each other and prices for homes near Main are still (kind of) reasonable—but that won’t last for long. Some of the larger homes are already in the half-million range. With a FasTracks light rail train plannedand a recent surge of new, higher end restaurants and shops moving in, it appears Louisville is getting hotter by the second, and continuously ranks among the top towns to live in based on Money Magazine surveys. Don’t wait too long to move in.

Downtown Lofts, Boulder

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Where: Spruce to Walnut from 9th to 17th.
Who: Empty nesters and single folks who just moved from a big city and think $1 million for a loft is cheap.
Typical Home: Two master bedrooms, 1,500 square feet, spacious floor plans—Manhattan in the Rockies.
Typical Price: $1 million-$2 million. school district: Boulder Valley School District.
Why: Because living right next to Pearl Street in Boulder is a luxury most people cannot afford—except for those who just sold a tech company and decided Boulder would be a nice place to live. For these folks, who just relocated from a major metropolis, however, a million-dollar loft is a steal. Seriously. Walking to the quaint shops of downtown Boulder, dining at prestigious restaurants, being next to bike paths for recreation and stellar views make these new properties in high demand for the elite regardless of the price tag. The transplants who are flocking to these new abodes have paid much more for much less to live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan or near Chicago’s Miracle Mile. Some of the properties, such as penthouse corner suites on Pearl, are hitting the $2-million mark, offering close to 2,000 square feet and multi-million-dollar views of
the Flatirons.

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