With its stunning mountains and incredible ski hills, Colorado is popular among outdoor enthusiasts. The state also offers a fantastic quality of life at a reasonable cost. The median rent price in Colorado runs around $1221 for a 1-bedroom apartment and $1505 for a 2-bedroom unit, which is consistent with the national median rent price of $1450 a month.
While popular cities like Denver and Boulder have a high cost of living by the state’s standards, you can find a wide range of rent prices in Colorado. Here are some of the most affordable places to live in Colorado.
The Least Expensive Place to Live in Colorado: Fountain
Located just south of Colorado Springs, Fountain offers the most affordable cost of living in Colorado. Rent in Fountain averages $1382 per month, while the average home is valued at around $494,000. Renters occupy only about 35% of the homes in Fountain, perhaps due to the affordability of real estate in the area.
Fountain’s population is just 30,000, but its proximity to the much larger Colorado Springs means you don’t miss out on any big city amenities by moving there. Fountain is mainly suburban and rural, meaning it’s not very walkable. Unfortunately, public transportation in Fountain isn’t very prolific, so you will likely need a vehicle to get around — so forget to factor that expense into your cost of living.
Those drawn to outdoor recreation will find no lack of opportunities in Fountain. The city is surrounded by parks and nature preserves where you can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, fishing, birding, and more.
The #2 Least Expensive Place to Live in Colorado: Greeley
Greeley is a city of 108,795 residents located southeast of Fort Collins, Colorado, where the average rental goes for about $1407 per month. For those looking to buy, the average home in Greeley is priced around $457,500, making it one of the cheapest cities in Colorado to buy a house.
Greeley was founded in the 1800s as an experimental agricultural utopia, and it continues to have a robust agricultural industry. The largest employer in Greeley is the food processing company JBS USA. Education and healthcare are two other significant components of Greeley’s economy.
Residents of Greeley enjoy taking advantage of the area’s outdoor recreation options. The city is home to 57 parks, where you can enjoy everything from jogging and cycling to hiking, ice skating, and more. The city has a growing craft beer scene and a thriving arts community, and it plays host to all kinds of fun events throughout the year. The Greeley Stampede is a two-week rodeo that takes place every July. The Union Colony Civic Center attracts all kinds of touring acts, including musicians and broadway productions, throughout the year.
The Least Expensive City in Colorado: Colorado Springs
Located just over one hour from Denver, Colorado Springs offers a much more affordable cost of living without sacrificing culture or opportunities for outdoor recreation. Where the average rent in Denver runs about $1994 per month, rents average just $1553 in Colorado Springs. Not bad, considering it’s the state’s second-largest city. The average cost of a home in the city is about $485,000.
Colorado Springs has a population of approximately 480,000. The city is home to several military bases, including the Peterson Space Force Base, and much of the economy is supported by this sector. Other significant industries in Colorado Springs include tourism and high-tech.
The city has a largely suburban feel, but there is no shortage of community events, festivals, and activities to participate in Farmer’s Markets, theatre performances, concerts, and more. There are several craft breweries and excellent bars and restaurants throughout the city. Many residents are drawn to Colorado for its stunning nature, and Colorado Springs offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. The city offers many parks and paths for jogging and cycling, and the surrounding mountains make it easy to access areas to hike or ski.
The Least Expensive Denver Suburb: Glendale
Glendale is a small suburb of Denver, Colorado, with approximately 4,500 residents. Over 80% of Glendale’s population consists of renters, and they pay an average of $1652 per month. Considering Denver’s average rent is $1994, living in Glendale represents reasonable savings, especially given that it’s located just 5 miles from downtown Denver. The average price of a home in Glendale is $375,965, and most of the housing is apartments and condos rather than single-family homes.
Glendale is largely a commercial area with many office buildings, shopping malls, and small businesses. It is home to Infinity Park, a sports and entertainment complex that hosts rugby games and other events. There are also a few parks within Glendale where residents can exercise, picnic, or participate in community activities and events.
The affordable cost of living and the convenient location makes Glendale a popular neighborhood among young professionals in the Denver area. Glendale is largely urban, and residents can walk to a variety of coffee shops, restaurants, and bars.
The #2 Least Expensive Denver Suburb: Edgewater
Located approximately 5 miles west of downtown Denver, Edgewater is a suburb with a population of 5,000. Rent prices in Edgewater are higher than the national average of $1450 but lower than average for Denver, making it an attractive place to live, especially for those looking for proximity to downtown Denver. The average price of rent in Edgewater is $1664, and the average cost of a home is $665,538.
Edgwater offers a mix of urban and suburban environments. It’s a trendy neighborhood and offers a collection of excellent dining options, breweries, coffee shops, and boutiques. The Edgewater Public Market is a popular dining hall packed with different eateries, cafes, and bars. Sloan’s Lake is a popular attraction in Edgewater, and there are many restaurants right along the shore. The lake is surrounded by green space and multi-use paths popular for walking, cycling, and jogging. It’s also a great place to watch the sunset.
While Edgewater is located very close to downtown Denver, the city is self-contained, which only adds to its affordability. Within Edgewater, you can walk or cycle to all kinds of amenities, including grocery stores, box stores, and more, which limits your dependence on a vehicle. Unfortunately, Edgewater’s public transportation is lacking, so you may need a vehicle for commuting.
The Best for Families: Wheat Ridge
Wheat Ridge is a city located on the western edge of Denver. It was originally established as a farming community in the 1800s but now it is largely residential and is known for its collection of antique shops, consignment stores, and an abundance of parks. Thanks to its agricultural roots, Wheat Ridge also has several farmer’s markets and produce stands where residents can purchase fresh, locally-grown produce and other products.
Wheat Ridge has a population of approximately 30,000 and with an average rent price of $1685, making it one of the most affordable places to live in Colorado. The average cost of purchasing a home in Wheat Ridge is $664,558, and approximately 55% of residents own their homes. Likely due to its suburban feel, Wheat Ridge is a popular community for families. The median age of residents is 41 years, and the area has excellent public schools.
This friendly city is known for its cultural diversity, community feel, and relaxed atmosphere. It has everything you could need, from shopping and restaurants to recreation and entertainment opportunities. Unlike many suburbs, Wheat Ridge has great public transportation, making it easy to limit your driving. Plus, you are close enough to downtown Denver to reap the rewards of a much larger city.
The Best for Mountain Access: Aurora
Aurora is Colorado’s third largest city and has a population of approximately 325,000. It is known for its abundance of parks and its proximity to the Rocky Mountains, which is reflected in the town motto, “The Gateway to the Rockies.”
Living in Aurora is incredibly affordable for a city of its size in such a desirable location. The average cost of rent is $1737 per month while purchasing a home costs approximately $514,449. Aurora is about 9 miles east of Denver, making it easy to take advantage of all the city’s amenities.
Residents of Aurora enjoy making the most of the area’s many outdoor recreation opportunities. From hiking to fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding, and beyond, there are many ways to enjoy the great outdoors. Aurora also has a vibrant culinary scene featuring cuisines from around the world, including Morrocco, the Mediterranean, and beyond.
The Bottom Line
Colorado is a beautiful state with a healthy economy and offers an excellent quality of life for its residents. While the cost of living in the state is typically a little above the national average, there are still plenty of affordable places to live in Colorado. It’s worth noting that the cost of rent and the price of real estate has been rising steadily within the state over the last several years. Purchasing real estate in Colorado could be a smart investment.