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Centennial ranks high for first-time homebuyers

The city was rated No. 8 of the 448 largest cities in the U.S.


Even with home prices climbing, the housing market in Centennial is hot.

Just ask John Vizzi. His real estate experience in the south metro Denver area stretches back 38 years.

Vizzi said that while housing values are rising significantly, once a house hits the market, it could see eight offers in a day.

“First-time homebuyers have to make an offer right away,” Vizzi said. “Most properties sell in less than a week.”

In a survey of 448 of the most populous cities in the United States, Centennial ranked as the eighth best city for first-time homebuyers.

The survey, conducted by NerdWallet.com, a website that focuses on personal finance, looked at three factors:

• Affordability: Analyzing the income-to-home-price ratio and the availability of homeownership assistance programs.

• Livability: Crime and school rankings.

• Stability: Poverty and unemployment data.

NerdWallet weighed each of the factors to create a final score for the cities, said NerdWallet senior data analysist Daniel Tonkovich.

Where Centennial thrived was the livability portion, where it scored 80.9 out of 100 on the NerdWallet index. Tonkovich said crime was minimal and the school systems ranked highly. Centennial is annually ranked among the safest cities in the nation and its two school districts, Littleton Public Schools and Cherry Creek, are among the highest-achieving in the state.

Centennial, which has a population of about 110,000, struggled in the affordability section, scoring 53.16 out of 100. In December, the median sales price of a single-family home in the city was $423,000, according to the Denver Metro Association of Realtors. That’s up more than 8 percent since December 2015, and the prices have steadily increased since 2012, when the median sales price was roughly $275,000.

Centennial’s sales prices for December were about $45,000 higher than the Denver metro area as a whole, the Realtor group reported.

“Where Centennial was beaten by the cities above it was affordability,” Tonkovich said. “People looking for their first home are usually not looking for an expensive house, and Centennial was a little more pricey than average.”

Tonkovich said that it was a close race in the top 10 cities. Centennial was a mere five points away from the No. 1 spot, receiving a 64.5 overall rating.

“We are very happy to see Centennial recognized along with other great Colorado cities,” Mayor Cathy Noon said in a news release. “Buying a home for the first time is a big decision and one that can be stressful, so it is nice to see Centennial excels in the categories important to those looking to purchase a home for the first time.”


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