Moving to Colorado | 2020 Cost of Living and Relocation Tips
Many people moving to Colorado are doing so for the fresh air, scenery, and opportunity to live in a state where the population ranks among the most active in the country. Of course, planning a move to Colorado requires you to consider the same sort of things you have to consider for any other state. From understanding the daily commute to the cost of groceries, there are a variety of basic things to brush up on in order to make your move much more successful and satisfying. Of course, learning where the best sights are will certainly top your priority list.
1. Colorado Cost of Living
When considering a move to a new state, it is important to learn about any potential changes in your cost of living. Fortunately, when it comes to Colorado, the cost of living is not as high as you might initially fear. In fact, when compared with other states, Colorado’s index of 131.5 is only slightly higher than the national average. This higher cost of living is mostly due to housing, grocery, and transportation costs. For instance, when it comes to purchasing a home, the median price is approximately $336,000. If you are considering the Denver metro area, you will be looking at prices in the upper $400,000 range.
However, this slightly higher cost of living is not so bad if you take into consideration that the median household income is actually 13 percent higher than the national average.
Whether you are in a high- or low-income bracket, you will be paying 4.6 percent tax on your income. Additionally, if you are single, the standard deduction is $12,000, and if you are married, you can simply double that amount.
When it comes to property tax, Colorado is ranked fourth lowest in the US. You should expect to pay approximately $1,800 per year if you are an average homeowner as the real-estate tax rate ranges between .55 and .57 percent.
Colorado’s sales tax rate is currently at a mere 2.9 percent. However, it is important to understand that the rate can increase to as much as 7.01 percent as municipalities and cities in Colorado are permitted to set their own sales tax rate.
3. Moving and Shipping Costs
Moving and shipping costs will vary depending on the distance from which you are moving and exactly what you are moving. That said, on average, a move of approximately 1,225 miles will most likely cost around $4,000. Of course, if you will be moving from a state that is located farther away, your costs will increase.
However, this estimate is based on belongings that weigh approximately 7,000 pounds, and your moving cost will decrease or increase, comparatively, depending on how much you are wanting to move. If you have a lot of belongings, especially heavy ones, you might want to consider having a garage sale to keep your moving costs within reason.
4. Colorado Job Market
According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the unemployment rate as of December 2019 was at 2.5 percent. This is impressive as the average unemployment rate for the US often ranges between 3.2 percent and 4.4 percent. Additionally, as of January 2020, Colorado’s minimum wage is $12 per hour, which is significantly higher than the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour.
Colorado has a diverse economy comprised of a variety of industries, such as energy, agriculture and manufacturing. Other industries include tourism and real estate. However, when moving to a new state, it is important to educate yourself regarding the top industries to help inform your job-searching activities. When it comes to Colorado, the following industries are the most popular.
- architecture and engineering
- mathematics and computers
- social, physical, and life sciences
It is also important know which jobs and industries are showing growth.
- cement mason
- insulation installer
- assistance in home health
- diagnostic medical sonographer
- interpreter or translator
Finally, if you are looking for a job, it is recommended that you live in one of the following places.
5. Housing in Colorado
Depending on where in Colorado you are moving, rent for a one-bedroom apartment can range from $1,000 to $1,800 per month while the median cost to rent a two-bedroom apartment runs around $1,300. As you would expect, the closer you are to a popular area, such as Boulder, the higher your monthly rent will be. However, higher rents are also the result of an increase in new construction, which also means your chances of finding a brand-new place are pretty good. Some areas enjoying new construction include the following.
- Fort Collins
- Glenwood Springs
- Grand Junction
In terms of buying a home, Colorado ranks in the top 10 when it comes to the housing market. However, with this high rank comes the aforementioned higher median price of $300,000 per home. If you are interested in renting a house, you will most likely be shelling out $1,900 per month. However, this price will change depending on the home’s location and size.
6. Things to do in Colorado
It is nearly impossible to run out of things to do in Colorado. For instance, Colorado is known for its incredible and seemingly endless outdoor opportunities, such as skiing, hiking, and horseback riding. Once you have settled in, you should be sure to enjoy some–if not all–of the following attractions.
Mesa Verde National Park
Home to the ancient Puebloan cliff dwellings, this national park provides an incredible experience for photographers and historians. Additionally, the park, located in the southwest region of Colorado, is surrounded by this state’s natural beauty, making it an awesome experience for nature lovers as well.
Garden of the Gods
Featuring red-rock formations, this National Natural Landmark is located at the base of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs. Visitors can enjoy hiking, horseback riding, and camping. You can also avail yourself of Jeep and Segway tours. The rock formations are enormous, and some seemingly defy gravity. In fact, you should be sure to bring your camera as this place is like no other in Colorado.
If you love nostalgia and the 80s, you should not miss the chance to visit this museum located in Denver. Dedicated to everything 80s, you can browse or purchase a variety of vintage items including clothes, toys, and a variety of memorabilia.
- Garbage Pail Kids
- Strawberry Shortcake
- Classic Video Games
- Pinball Machines
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Red Rocks Amphitheater
Just 15 miles outside of the state’s capital, the Red Rocks Amphitheater is a natural amphitheater. As you might expect, this beautiful amphitheater offers amazing acoustics. As such, it is home to a variety of live musical performances. Additionally, historians believe the Ute tribe may have used this same amphitheater hundreds of years ago.
Of course, Colorado is known for its many opportunities for skiing. Vail, however, is among the best ski resorts in the nation. In addition to the magnificent slopes, the town of Vail is a picture-post experience that must not be missed.
Colorado is located, on average, 6,800 feet above sea level. This high elevation results in low humidity and moderate yearly temperatures across most of the state. For instance, when it comes to the summer, the average high is around 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, due to varying elevations, weather can be rather localized. In the eastern part of the state, for instance, the weather is more similar to the semi-arid plains of Kansas where temperatures are much higher in the summer. In this area, there is also very little rain. Finally, the eastern part of the state experiences dramatic changes in temperatures due to the low humidity.
Conversely, colder temperatures and increased precipitation are the norm for higher elevations. For instance, Vail can drop to the single digits in the winter and experience over 125 inches of snow and rain in just one year’s time.
8. Become Resident
Becoming a resident of Colorado is as simple as being at least 23 years old, establishing physical residency, and showing proof that you live at the physical address using any of the following.
- utility bill with your name
- rental agreement
The state of Colorado also requires you show your commitment to becoming a full-time resident by either registering to vote, obtaining an identification card, or getting your Colorado driver’s license. Whatever method you choose, you should be sure that the document you present displays your address.
9. Driving in the Mountains
It is important to understand that it will take you time to become proficient at safely driving through the mountains of Colorado. As such, you should always stay abreast of the road conditions and travel alerts.
10. Natural Disasters
When you think of natural disasters, you most likely do not think of Colorado. This is because Colorado is among the safest places to live regarding the occurrences of a natural disasters like storm surges and hurricanes. However, Colorado does experience its share of hail storms, tornadoes, and flooding. Colorado is also not a stranger to earthquakes and wildfires.
Related: Best Places to Live in Colorado