Study: How much could you save by living 15 minutes outside Denver?

Live close to work downtown and pay a higher rent, or live farther away and pay less? It’s a scenario many residents find themselves in across the country. Which is more cost-effective in Denver, and by how much?

According to a new study released today from Zillow, in conjunction with HERE Technologies, home values in Denver decreased by 0.2 percent, which would save a homeowner about $735, if the resident moved 15 minutes away from the downtown area.

Renters could see slightly bigger savings, with a 1.3 percent decrease, which comes out to about $24 in savings each month.

The study also found the best “Bang for Buck” neighborhoods — places that could allow for the fastest commute with the most reasonable price — in the Denver metro area for homeowners and renters.

Homeowners would find the best luck near Henderson in the 80640 ZIP code. Current median homes are valued at $366,300 and the median commute time in a car during rush hour is estimated at 34.9 minutes, the study found. The best location for renters is Forest Spring in Arvada in the 80007 ZIP code. Current median rent is $2,827 and the median commute is 38.8 minutes.

Homeowners in Boston, Seattle, Washington, D.C. and Chicago will save the most money by moving 15 minutes away from the city’s urban core, according to the study. A typical home in Boston becomes 13.4 percent less expensive when it’s shifted 15 minutes away from the downtown core, which knocks about $57,260 off the price, according to the study. In Seattle, a home is 11.3 percent less expensive — equating savings of about $54,599 — when it’s 15 minutes away out.

Zillow Senior Economist Aaron Terrazas said there has been a urban revival in many cities in the United States over the past 20 years.

“But, this does come with a cost,” he said. “In many cities, there’s a growing tradeoff between a short commute and an affordable home. The regular commute to and from work looms large over the typical American worker’s life. Over a 30-year career, reducing your one-way commute by just 15 minutes frees up five months of one’s life for more rewarding pursuits. For some home shoppers, it may be worth paying more to spend less time sitting in traffic, but for others, deteriorating mortgage affordability and lifestyle needs and wants make longer commutes a reality.”

This study used commute and real-time traffic data from HERE Technologies, a mapping and location platform company, to analyze 34 of the largest metropolitan areas in the country. Click here to read the full study

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