Capitol Hill condos appeal to young buyers who want active, hip lifestyle

Interest in the Capitol Hill neighborhood waned in 2020 as downtown Denver area businesses closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. But buyers came roaring back this year.

Ryan Sanchez, 8z real estate agent, compared the disinterest in Capitol Hill to the urban flight that happened on the East and West Coasts during the pandemic.

“Why pay Capitol Hill prices when you can’t have the Capitol Hill experience,” Sanchez says. “All the things that are close and convenient were closed.”

In 2020, buyers purchased 10 homes and 255 attached homes in the neighborhood. Through Oct. 22, 23 houses and 398 attached homes have sold this year, he says. “As things reopened, people became interested in Capitol Hill again.”

Allie Carlson, West + Main managing broker, calls Capitol Hill charming and says its unique architecture will always appeal to buyers.

“It’s not cookie-cutter,” she says. “There are condo buildings that are two- to five-stories that have unique features building to building.”

Why move to Capitol Hill?

Carlson says that the neighborhood appeals to young professionals who want to live in a walkable neighborhood near downtown.

Many buyers are first-time buyers who choose condos or townhomes because they can’t afford to buy a house in other Denver neighborhoods, Sanchez says.

Carlson says that buyers often choose to keep their Capitol Hill condos and turn them into rental properties when they move on to a bigger home.

While the neighborhood primarily appeals to people who want to live near downtown, it also offers convenient access to Cheesman and Congress parks, Lower Downtown, and Cherry Creek.

What’s available?

Although Capitol Hill has some houses available, the majority of sales involve condos.

Those condo prices range from small, one-bedroom, 700-square-foot units in the high $200,000s to the low $300,000s to larger, remodeled, and upgraded condos for $600,000 to $700,000, Carlson says.

Sanchez says the average condo price is $365,000, but some units sell for as much as $2.3 million. That compares to the average price of $962,000 for a single-family home in the neighborhood. Houses in the area typically are bigger, older houses with about 2,600-square-feet of space.

While houses typically stay on the market for closer to a month, condos usually sell quickly and often are on the market for a week or less, Carlson says. “It’s not that much different than what’s happening across the Denver area housing market.”

One of the most significant factors affecting condo sales is the cost of homeowners’ association fees, Carlson says. Those fees range from $100 to $500 per month. At a bare minimum, the fees cover trash hauling, snow removal, landscaping, and exterior building maintenance. The higher fees typically apply to units that offer common areas like pools or workout facilities.

Who’s moving in?

Carlson says that the Capitol Hill neighborhood typically appeals to young, single professionals who want an active, hip lifestyle. “It draws people who want to be able to walk to their destinations or hop on a bus easily,” she says.”It’s not the neighborhood you look at for a family of five.”

Sanchez says he also sees younger newlyweds who want to stay in the city buying condos. “It’s definitely a younger demographic.”

Carlson agrees. “It’s an active, busy place,” she says. “It’s not a sleepy area by any means.”

What’s in the neighborhood?

Popular neighborhood restaurants include doughnut bites, biscuits, or eggs Benedict at Jelly’s Cap Hill, or fried chicken and cocktails at Lou’s Food and Bar.

Options for shopping include Argonaut Wine and Liquor or Wax Trax Records.

Neighborhood residents also can quickly get to the 16th Street Mall for meals or shopping.

People looking for a bit of history or culture can visit the Molly Brown House, the Colorado State Capitol, the Denver Art Museum, or the History Colorado Center.

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