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 Colorado Springs.
There is no question that it is beautiful here. The Springs is a medium sized city. 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 time to roll up your sleeves and do some research. Most importantly, pull up your cost of living calculator and learn how much it will cost you to live here.
According to the Council for Community and Economic Research in Arlington, VA, the cost of living index for Colorado Springs rose to 104% in Quarter 4 of 2020. This is the highest rate since 1997. 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.
Housing and it’s affordability is the largest expenditure of every living expense calculation. Housing affordability has suffered over the past few years all over the country. Colorado Springs has seen a 36% increase in home prices over the last 3 years. It is considered one of the hottest overall real estate markets, and has the hottest zip code in the nation in 2020 for home buyers and sellers.
Buying a Home
As of December 2020, the National Association of Realtors reports that Colorado Springs has a $371,900 median home price (up from $315,700 in 2018) for existing, single family homes, while the national median home price is $309,100. But $371,900 in Colorado Springs still looks affordable when compared to a whopping $506,000 median home price in Denver (or $673,400 in Boulder!).
Colorado Springs vs Denver: Where Should You Live?
Steps to Buy a Home
Colorado Springs at $371,900 compared to cities across the United States:
- Washington DC: $492,000
- Denver, CO: $506,000
- Boulder, CO: $673,400
- Portland, OR: $462,200
- Las Vegas, NV: $ 339,000
- Seattle, WA: $617,700
- Memphis, TN: $232,900
- Tampa, FL: $280,000
- Charlotte, NC: $309,700
- Austin, TX: $373,200
- Houston, TX: $271,600
- Los Angeles, CA: $708,900
Owning a home
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.
Renting a Home
The average rent prices above (from Apartment List) show that Colorado Springs rent prices are just above national averages, but still below Denver rates. It’s important to note that Apartment List reports a 5% drop in rental rates for Denver over the last 12 months while Colorado Springs has seen a 4% increase.
The good news is that Colorado Springs is almost even with the national median rental prices at $982/month for 1 bedroom and $1,246 for 2 bedrooms. Be prepared for average rents to continue to climb in Colorado Springs in the near future. Our competitive real estate market and rising home prices are pushing many prospective buyers into an already tight rental market. The lack of affordable housing in Colorado Springs will continue to be an issue. Developers are expected to complete two large apartment projects in the downtown area by 2023 to attract young professionals. Investors are also choosing to convert low income housing to high end condos and apartments.
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.
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 for 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 own home.
Numbeo indicates that the cost of utilities (including electricity, heating, cooling and water) will average about $125 per month. If you have a current utility bill on hand, then you can calculate your estimated Colorado Springs utilities 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.
Tips for Finding a Rental in Colorado Springs
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.
For public transportation and commuting to Denver, FLEX rides by Bustang offers express coaches. An adult ticket is $12 per ride up to Denver, and you can save 10% or more by buying multiple tickets at one time.
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.
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. I predict this time will increase over the next few years. Increasing traffic and a continuous freeze and thaw cycle mean our streets are taking a beating. It shows in the amount of potholes!
KRDO’s gas tracker shows gas prices (January 2021) at an average of $2.29 with some gas stations selling as low as $1.94.
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 just above $900 (DMV.org), while Colorado Springs’ average annual car insurance expense is $1,435.
Related Reading: Colorado Springs Relocation Guide
In 2019, the median household income for Colorado Springs families was $64,712. That’s a drop from $65,593 in 2017 and below the national median income of $68,703. (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 November 2020, the unemployment rate in Colorado Springs is 6%. The pandemic has had an impact on the typically low unemployment rate here in the Springs.
Colorado Springs has an estimated monthly food budget of roughly $360 for a single person. This is on the high end of the national monthly food budget average which ranges from $173-364 as of November 2020.
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
The cost of daycare is expensive in any part of the country. Expect a weekly cost of $260 to $340/week for an infant. 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. A recent Colorado Springs Moms Blog report quoted a local mother saying her cost for 2 toddlers in daycare is $450/week.
Related Reading: Tips for Hiking with Kids
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
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.
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. The main factor in our current market is the painfully low inventory. Prices will continue to 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. These numbers are then assembled by other parties and frequently don’t provide the most accurate or up-to-date statistics. Since statistics are a snapshot of one moment in time, use this information as such. 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. The only way to get an accurate analysis of housing prices is to call your real estate professional (719-321-0800) and speak with them.
Questions about moving to Colorado Springs? Email email@example.com or call 719-219-9739. Our team is here to help.