If you think Denver has ballooned in recent years, there’s one pocket of Colorado where growth occurred at a significantly greater rate. And it’s probably not where you think.
Greeley, the county seat of Weld County, is an agriculture-based community that is attracting new residents from around the state and country. From 2010 to 2020, the population of the Greeley metropolitan statistical area (MSA) expanded from 252,825 to 328,981. The 30.1 percent increase makes it the fastest growing metro area in Colorado and the fourth fastest-growing metro area in the country, according to 2020 census data released in August, 2021.
The area’s growth is attributed in part to its location. Greeley sits 30 miles southeast of Fort Collins, about 53 miles east of Rocky Mountain National Park, and about 55 miles northeast of Denver.
While a large share of Weld County residents work in the Denver metro area, Weld’s proximity to Larimer County has also fueled both strong job and population growth.
Weld County is home to the University of Northern Colorado, which enrolls nearly 11,500 students. Large-scale factories include Leprino Foods, the world’s largest mozzarella cheese company, and JBS, one of the world’s largest meat processors. Weld County is represented as having a “pro-growth approach” in terms of attracting and retaining businesses.
Greeley’s development is also supported by a median home price that is significantly less than in surrounding communities. According to the Colorado Association of REALTORS® (CAR), the median sales price in July, 2021, for a single-family home in Weld County was $450,000, compared to $526,500 in Larimer County, $650,000 in Denver County, and $799,500 in Boulder County.
Another draw is that Greeley has “growth availability”. Unlike Boulder County with zoning laws and land-use regulations, or Broomfield County, the smallest county in Colorado, Weld has ample physical space to expand.
Folks seem to prefer Greeley’s small-town vibe. Its population of about 109,000 is large enough to have city amenities — chain restaurants, a Target, multiple shopping malls — yet small enough to retain a tight-knit feel.
Weld County’s younger population also played a role in its growth. In 2020, the average age of residents was 34.1, compared to 36.2 in Denver County, 37.8 in Larimer County, and the statewide average of 37.3, according to state data. Younger adults having children also contribute to the county’s growth.
The Hispanic population represents one of the fastest growing racial/ethnic groups in Colorado with a 21.6 percent increase in the past decade. Weld’s Hispanic population increased by 37.4 percent, likely contributing to Greeley’s growth.
Greeley is preparing to double in size in the next 40-50 years. Looking ahead, the focus is on responsible and diversified growth, including diversification of single family
residences and affordable housing, multi-family units, commercial properties, and industrial buildings.
Contact me with questions about housing opportunities throughout Northern Colorado!
Source: 5280 magazine