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Is the Cost of Living in Colorado Springs High?

Posted by Susanna Haynie on February 28, 2024
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photo of woman in a beanie looking at mountain landscape with "Colorado Springs Cost of Living" caption

Colorado Springs has received national exposure as one of the best places to live, and this is one of the many reasons more people are considering a move to our wonderful city. There is no question that it is beautiful here. Colorado Springs is a medium sized city, and its close proximity to the Front Range and Pikes Peak provides endless possibilities for outdoor activities and a healthy lifestyle. If you are serious about your plans to move to Colorado Springs, it’s important to do some research to understand how much it costs to live here.

Download the Colorado Springs Neighborhood Guide

According to the Council for Community and Economic Research the cost of living index for Colorado Springs was 109% in Quarter 3 of 2023. Experts say transportation costs are a major factor. New residents from more expensive parts of the country like California are having an easier time adjusting to our living expenses. Colorado Springs is growing and determined to accommodate the expansion.

Below we will go over six major categories of expenses so you can have a clear idea of how Colorado Springs compares to your current location.

Related Reading:
MIT’s Living Wage Calculation for El Paso County
Colorado Springs Neighborhood Guide

1. Housing

Housing is the largest expenditure of every living expense calculation. Affordable housing has suffered over the past few years  in the United States.  The average sales price for single family homes Colorado Springs increased 52% from January 2019 to January 2023.  It is considered one of the hottest overall real estate markets, and had one of the hottest zip codes in the nation in 2023 for home buyers and sellers.

Buying a Home

As of December 2023, the National Association of Realtors reports that Colorado Springs has a $462,200 median home price (an 25% in just three years) for existing, single family homes, while the national median home price is $400,867. But $462,200 in Colorado Springs still looks affordable when compared to a whopping $666,000 median home price in Denver (or $826,900 in Boulder!).

Related Reading:
Colorado Springs vs Denver: Where Should You Live?
Steps to Buy a Home

Colorado Springs at $462,200 compared to cities across the United States:

  • Washington DC: $581,300
  • Denver, CO: $666,000
  • Boulder, CO: $826,900
  • Portland, OR: $594,300
  • Las Vegas, NV: $463,500
  • Seattle, WA: $741,300
  • Nashville, TN: $408,300
  • Tampa, FL: $405,100
  • Charlotte, NC: $400,600
  • Austin, TX: $541,600
  • Houston, TX: $349,500
  • Los Angeles, CA: $893,200

Home Buyers Guide

Homeownership Costs

Home owners insurance rates in Colorado Springs tend to run a bit high because of significant hail storms in the summer. Property taxes are more expensive in newer subdivisions than in older ones. The price tag depends on age of the neighborhood and size of the home.

Related Reading: How to Appeal Your Property Taxes

Renting a Home

The inventory challenges in the real estate market and substantial growth in Colorado Springs have had a significant impact on the rental market. Many potential home buyers have been pushed into the rental market because of rising home prices and mortgage interest rates.  According to ApartmentList, Colorado Springs rent prices are just above the national averages and and remain more affordable than Denver prices.

The good news is that Colorado Springs is not too far off the national averages with $1207/month for 1 bedroom and $1414 for 2 bedrooms. Be prepared for average rents to stabilize a bit in Colorado Springs in the near future, but the lack of affordable housing will continue to be an issue. Developers are expected to complete large apartment projects in the downtown area to attract young professionals, while investors are also choosing to convert low income housing to high end condos and apartments.

Related Reading: Tips for Finding a Rental in Colorado Springs

Short Term Rentals

Short term rentals under 6 months are becoming increasingly harder to find. Many Home Owners Associations (HOAs) have started establishing rules that prohibit leases under 6 months in order to avoid negative impacts on neighborhoods. Expect short term rental prices to increase in price as the supply decreases. Corporate rentals have always been more expensive. With an increase in short term prices, companies might start to consider purchasing homes to rent to their temporary employees.

Many home owners are adding onto their homes (when zoning allows) in order to rent out space and bring in extra income.

Utilities

The cost of utilities depends on the size of your home, but your lifestyle and the time of year can also impact this expense. In the summer, you may pay more for air conditioning and water if you have a yard. (Local note: air conditioning is not a standard feature on Colorado Springs homes!). In the winter, gas or electricity for heating your home will be more expensive.

Many home builders have started building high performance and smart homes. These homes use significantly less energy than a mid century modern home from the early sixties.  Colorado Springs Utilities offers rebates for energy saving appliances or added features in a home. This might be a way to lower your cost of living if you own your home.

Numbeo indicates that the cost of utilities (including electricity, heating, cooling and water) will average about $174 per month for a 915 sqft apartment. If you have a current utility bill on hand, then you can calculate your estimated Colorado Springs utilities costs according to your current or estimated usage using the Colorado Springs Utility bill calculator.

Internet and cable can cost anywhere from $65 to $150+, depending on the service and speed you prefer.

Related Reading:
Steps to Buy a Home

2. Transportation

Public transportation

Public transportation in town is available from Mountain Metro Transit. Public transportation has never been ideal, but it will get you to where you are going.  The basic fare of $1.75 could also lower your cost of living expenses.

Downtown Bikes

Downtown Partnership recently established PikeRide.  At several PikeRide rental stations, users can pay with a credit card or phone, unlock a bike, and ride to wherever they need to go.

Cars

The growing Colorado Springs population means a significant increase in traffic. If there are no accidents on the road, you can still get from one end of town to the other within 45 minutes.  This time will increase over the next few years as our population grows. Increasing traffic and a continuous freeze and thaw cycle mean our streets take a beating. It shows in the amount of potholes!

Gas Prices

KRDO’s gas tracker shows gas prices (February 2023) at an average of $2.89 (above the national average of $3.31) with some gas stations selling as low as $2.62.

Auto Insurance Rates

In 2003, Colorado became a fault state. This means that you can file a claim directly with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. Minimum insurance requirements are:

  • $25,000 per person for bodily injury.
  • $50,000 per accident for bodily injury.
  • $15,000 per accident for property damage.

The national average for the annual cost of car insurance is $1982, while Colorado’s average annual car insurance expense for full coverage is $2,670(nerdwallet.com). A number of factors contribute to the high car insurance premiums in Colorado including major hail storms and a high percentage of uninsured drivers.

Related Reading: Colorado Springs Relocation Guide

3. Income

In 2022, the median household income for Colorado Springs families was $79,026. That’s an increase from $71,957  in 2019 and just above the national median income of $67,521. (source: Census ACS )

While Colorado Springs and its economy are growing, the increase in household income is not keeping pace with the growing housing costs and cost of living.

As of December 2023, the unemployment rate in Colorado Springs is 3.3%.

Related Reading:
How much money you need to make to be considered “rich” in Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs Job Opportunities
Colorado Springs 2021 Real Estate Outlook

4. Food

Colorado Springs has an estimated monthly food budget of roughly $441 for a single person. This is on the high end of the national monthly food budget average which ranges from $372-457 as of January 2024. The expensive food costs here in Colorado Springs reflect a national trend of increasing costs for groceries and dining out.

Plan on spending at least $15 per person when you dine out depending on the type of restaurant you choose. A couple of my personal favorite inexpensive and delicious restaurants are The Green Line and El Taco Rey.

Related Reading: Must Visit Colorado Springs Restaurants

5. Daycare

The cost of daycare is expensive in any part of the country. Expect a monthly cost of $1667 per child. Daycare expenses typically decrease as the child grows, and most centers offer discounts for multiple children. Be sure to ask for discounts but don’t expect significant price cuts. Just like food, childcare is another cost of living aspect that is a national challenge with the average household childcare cost index rising more than 30% since 2019.

Related Reading: Tips for Hiking with Kids

6. Entertainment

The amount you spend on entertainment really depends on what you are looking for. For example, you can go to the movies for about $8/person. Of course, there are many other opportunities for fun, and some are more expensive than others. However, Colorado Springs has so many parks that offer free (and healthy) activities such as hiking and biking.

Related Reading: 5 Parks to Visit in Colorado Springs

Neighborhoods

The older and more historical neighborhoods tend to be in the southwest area of town. Colorado Springs has expanded to the east and north. As a general rule of thumb, this means the newer homes tend to be further east and north from the center of the city. However, there are still plenty of homes from the 1970’s and 1980’s all over the Springs. Click here to download the Colorado Springs Neighborhood Guide.

  • Usually the more expensive homes are found in the north and southwest/west (west of I-25).
  • You’ll find more land with your home on the east side of town and up north in Woodmoor and Black Forest.
  • Many of the 70’s and 80’s homes have split levels.
  • Air conditioning is not a standard feature in Colorado Springs homes.
  • You get the most bang for your house buying buck in Fountain Valley.
  • Horse properties can typically be found on the north or east sides of town or in Woodland Park.
  • Most century homes are in Old Colorado City, Manitou Springs and downtown Colorado Springs.
  • Colorado Springs is expanding to the east where there are many new construction subdivisions. (Download our complete list of New Construction in Colorado Springs)
  • Colorado Springs now has many multiple master planned communities with attractive amenities like pools, rec centers, community rooms, and tennis courts. Banning Lewis Ranch even has its own schools.
  • Homes on the west side are more likely to have structural damage than homes in other parts of town.
  • The west side offers many hiking trails for outdoorsy people.
  • The further north you go in Colorado Springs, the colder the weather gets as you increase in altitude.
  • The further east you go, the windier it gets.

Download the Colorado Springs Neighborhood Guide

Trends in Colorado Springs

The cost of living in Colorado Springs has steadily increased over the past few years, and it will likely continue that way. Home prices are expected to continue to increase but at more sustainable rates than 2021. The main factor in our current market is the low inventory. Prices will continue to steadily increase until we have more homes for sale.

Historically, Colorado Springs’ growth has always been a step or two behind Denver. This is beginning to shift with plenty of projects and plans underway to catch up to Denver, and it’s starting to show as this Forbes article reports. Our cities will never be the same and Colorado Springs is growing up.

As I did my research, I noticed that the cost of living data displayed a huge range of numbers. This is partially caused by the fact that cost of living and other statistics are measured differently by various sources.  Given that statistics only capture a single moment in time, it’s important to treat this information accordingly. The bottom line: Colorado Springs has become more and more expensive over the last few years and the highest expense is housing. This is not likely to change in the near future.

Questions about moving to Colorado Springs? Reach out to us today! Our team is here to help.

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