When you think of affordable, does it take you back to your childhood?
Do you remember your mom making you play in the sprinkler all day because she refused to turn on the air conditioner? Or when staycations became a thing in your house because it was too expensive to go anywhere?
It’s simple economics, people. The less you have to spend on bills and taxes, the more you will have to spend on things that matter: like your home, good food, and just overall good fun. This economic formula for affordability is no different for the good people of Colorado.
Most people think that Colorado cities are filled with a bunch of fancy steakhouses, snobby Aspenites, and a plethora of wealthy outdoor enthusiasts. While all this might be true for some Colorado cities, the cowboys and cowgirls of the Centennial State would beg to differ. Colorado’s cities have a lot to offer to all income levels; and surprisingly, there are cities in Rocky Mountain-land that are actually extremely affordable.
Now, don’t go all crazy and drown your financial woes on the Wendy’s dollar menu. Just because Colorado is affordable, doesn’t mean it’s trailer park cheap. It means the cost of living is doable. And that means you have more money to do the fun stuff that Colorado has to offer: like whitewater rafting down the Rio Grande or soaking in the hot springs in Glenwood Springs.
So, grab yourself a pint of new Belgium Fat Tire and a basket of rocky mountain oysters, and read on.
The 10 Most Affordable Places To Live In Colorado
Yes, Colorado is the best state for those looking for a little good ‘ol fashioned, inexpensive Rocky Mountain fun.
It seems like Coloradans are always camping, climbing mountains, skiing/snowboarding, rafting, mountain biking.you get the picture. This fun happens because Colorado residents know the value of a dollar. More importantly, they know the Colorado cities where your dollar will go the furthest.
What is the most affordable place to live in Colorado? Well, after crunching data from the US Census in terms of median housing costs, median income, and overall cost of living, La Junta is the most affordable place to live in Colorado.
If you care about home values, cost of living, and high quality of life, take a look at the list below to find the most affordable places in Colorado, where, yes, you can have it all.
And if you already knew these places were cheap, check out some more reading about Colorado and the cheapest places in the country:
The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Colorado For 2022
La Junta may not have any big cities around, but you’d be surprised how much great stuff there is to do here.
History buffs have Bent’s Old Fort and the Koshare Indian Museum, while hikers can choose between Picket Wire Canyonlands and the exquisite Vogel Canyon.
Note that all of the above activities are pretty cheap, but that’s just the start of your savings in La Junta. The median rent here is a crazy low 635, the lowest anywhere in Colorado.
The median home price in La Junta is also the second lowest statewide, with a typical house selling for $94,800. The overall cost of living score in La Junta is 84, compared to the national average of 100 and Colorado’s average of 110.
If you want a high quality of life for an unbeatable price, La Junta might just be your jam.
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.9x (2nd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 78.2x (53rd cheapest)
More On La Junta: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
The second most affordable city in Colorado for 2022 is Brush. Kudos to Brush. They moved up 11 from last year to become a Morgan County gold star city.
Located in the northeastern corner of The Centennial State, agriculture and The Brush Rodeo have kept their economy moving in right direction. The median income in this cowboy and cowgirl town is around $56,078 with average home prices up around $179,000.
Brush scored off our charts scoring an 8/10 on our snackability scale. They are the 3rd most affordable city when we looked at home price to income ratio. Affordability = happiness. We get why your city’s motto is “Homegrown Happiness!”
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 13)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.2x (5th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 60.9x (3cheapest)
More On Brush: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
Craig is small city located in northwest Colorado. This little city in Moffat County is our third most affordable city in Colorado for 2022. This little piece of Colorado heaven scored an 8/10 on our snackability scale with an 8/10 for jobs that offset their cost of living.
Not only does Craig’s solid household median income trickle down to their consistently strong economy, but they are known as the “Elk Hunting Capital of the World”. The economically savvy residents of Craig know how to fill up their freezers without a hefty grocery bill. However, if hunting is not your shtick but affordability is, maybe a river guide on their Yampa River might be a way to earn some extra cash.
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.5x (9th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 60.2x (29th cheapest)
More On Craig: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
Eaton already scored high on our list of the best Fort Collins suburbs, so finding out it’s also affordable is like winning the lottery.
What’s great about Eaton is you have all the big city amenities to your west and south, but you still have places like the Pawnee National Grasslands, where you can go horseback riding or off-roading.
The median income in Eaton is above average at $86,620, and your typical rental goes for a measly $972. The cost of living in Eaton is below the Colorado average and, as a bonus, the crime rate is also about 75% lower than the statewide average.
As of this moment, the median home value in Eaton is $328,800, but property values have been jumping by double-digit percentages in the past few years.
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.8x (15th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 89.1x (37th cheapest)
More On Eaton: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
You don’t have to live on ramen noodles and the McDonald’s dollar menu to live in our fifth most affordable city in Colorado for 2022: Lamar. This city in Prowers County is our third most affordable city for home ownership in line with median income.
Once a city with an agricultural-based economy, this Colorado city has gravitated towards the traditional with most jobs, now, in the trucking industry, medical profession, and fast food. But if you’re looking for a little moonlighting cash, we suggest mountain bike mechanic. We hear they’re in high demand in the southwestern corner of this Rocky Mountain mecca.
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.6x (3rd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 55.1x (66th cheapest)
More On Lamar: Real Estate | Cost Of Living
Ranking #6 on our list of cheapest places to live in colorado is John. The overall cost of living in John is lower than the Colorado average thanks in part to low rents and home prices. While a median rent of $1,484 does seem super low, the median price tag of a home is only $364,100, John has some of the most affordable homes for sale in colorado. And because the city’s median income is $115,069, Portland has the fourth best home price to income ratio in colorado.
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 5)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.2x (4th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 77.5x (60th cheapest)
More On John: Real Estate
Located 10 miles east of Fort Collins is the seventh cheapest city in colorado for 2022 — Severance. An hour drive to the mountains or Denver, Severance offers an affordable place to live without having to skip on the parts of Colorado living that make life great.
The cost of living in Severance is lower than the Colorado average by a decent margin. With a median rent of $1,172, Severance residents pay less than what most Coloradoans pay for rent. Residents of Severance earn a median income of $109,207 and pay a median price of $378,000 for homes, giving the town a solid home price to income ratio.
Rank Last Year: –
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.5x (7th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 93.2x (5th cheapest)
More On Severance: Real Estate | Crime Rate
Where Colorado State HWY 52 meets Colorado State Hwy 76, is our eighth most affordable city in Colorado: Fort Morgan.
This little Colorado gem is 14th when it comes to home price to income ratio. We are not surprised considering they have such a strong agricultural economy with an emphasis on meatpacking. Not only is the job market strong in Fort Morgan, their public transportation is the real deal. Amtrak has a hub in this tiny city in northeast Colorado, ready to take you to any job interview and/or profitable business deal in style.
Now if farming and packing meat is not your thing, there’s always a need for train conductors.
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.8x (14th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 55.9x (58th cheapest)
More On Fort Morgan: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
Pueblo is a home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous city of Pueblo County, Colorado, United States. The population was 106,595 in 2010 census, making it the 267th most populous city in the United States and the 9th largest in Colorado. Pueblo is the heart of the Pueblo Metropolitan Statistical Area totaling over 160,000 people and an important part of the Front Range Urban Corridor. As of 2014, Pueblo is the primary city of the Pueblo-Caon City combined statistical area totaling approximately 208,000 people, making it the 134th largest in the nation.
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 7)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.5x (8th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 51.9x (72nd cheapest)
More On Pueblo: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
Fort Lupton is one of the coolest Denver-burbs; but more importantly, it’s our tenth most affordable city to buy a home in Colorado for 2022. Fort Lupton’s overall HomeSnacks snackability was an 8/10! Not surprising considering their employment status and degree of education both scored off the charts. Busy people = less naughty people. And busy people don’t have time to waste their money on nonsense. Fort Lupton is currently super affordable, they have been affordable, and they will continue to be affordable. Heck, their town motto is “Where Tradition Builds the Future”.
Did we mention they have a Motel 6? nothing says affordable like a Motel 6. We just hope they’ll leave the light on…
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.3x (32nd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 69.3x (74th cheapest)
More On Fort Lupton: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
Cheapest Places To Live In Colorado FAQs
What county in Colorado has the lowest cost of living?
The county in Colorado with the lowest cost of living is Ouray County. The average living wage in Ouray County is $101,386 according to MIT data. Ouray County has the lowest cost of living because it has relatively less expensive childcare and housing costs compared to Colorado as a whole. Childcare costs $21,167 a year in Ouray County for two children compared to the Colorado average of $21,623. Housing costs, defined as a blend of the average rent and average mortgage payment, are $16,308 per year in Ouray County compared to $16,996 on average in Colorado.
What is the cost of living in Colorado?
The cost of living in Colorado is 14.4% higher than the US average. According to MIT, the required living wage for a family of four with two working parents in Colorado is $102,689 vs the national average for a family of four with two working parents of $89,744. The median income of a Colorado household is $75,231.
What is the cheapest housing market in Colorado?
The cheapest housing market in Colorado is Federal Heights. The average home value in Federal Heights is $71,700, the lowest in the state. The average home value in Colorado is $369,900, almost 5.2 times higher than Federal Heights.
Methodology: How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Centennial State For 2022
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:
- How much do money do I make?
- How much do I have spend to live there?
You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.
For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it’s actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.
With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2016-2020 around incomes and costs. They are:
- Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
- Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
- Median Home Price
We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).
You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in Colorado to figure out which is the least expensive.
What you are left with is a “Cost of Living Index” by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.
So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 80 places in Colorado that have more than 5,000 people.
The place with the lowest cost of living in Colorado according to the data is La Junta. You can download the data here.
Summary: There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Colorado Cheapskate
If you’re looking at the cost of living numbers in Colorado, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in Colorado for 2022.
Here’s a look at the most expensive cities in Colorado according to the data:
For more Colorado reading, check out:
The Most Affordable Places To Live In Colorado
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