As a broker I am continually fascinated by the articles and discussions concerning the lack of affordable options within the City and County of Denver. It is a fact, prices have risen since 2012 and demand is exceeding supply. Coupled with stagnation of inventory i.e. move-up and move down buyers are staying in their homes due to lack of inventory placing additional pressure concerning the lack of inventory.
Yet as an exercise I look through the MLS and other sources for residences which provide a value regardless of market conditions. Monaco Place, a condominium complex located just northeast of the Interstate-25 and Hampden Avenue interchange is one of those developments.
Built in the 1970’s the complex is expansive, spanning a large lot between Locust Street and Monaco Street Parkway just north of Hampden Avenue. While prices took a hit during the most recent downturn coupled with past deferred maintenance issues, the complex now offers what I believe is rare value in a most desirable location.
While prices have risen since the depths of the downturn, one bedrooms can still be purchased for $80K and two bedrooms with two bathrooms are running in the $120K range. On a per square foot basis, prices on average are still below $100 PSF. The complex has excellent amenities including expansive open-space, indoor pool, workout area, covered deeded carport spaces and a financially sound HOA.
The complex has a diverse collection of floor plans. Top floor units have vaulted ceilings. Most units have wood burning fireplaces (a rarity for condo complexes) and private outdoor space i.e. deck, terrace or patio. Some units have installed washer and dryer and there are laundry facilities throughout the development.
While HOA dues are on the higher-side for the amount of square footage, the fees include heat and air conditioning as well as standard features including common area maintenance and the pool/workout facilities. In addition taxes are below average, thus the actual monthly outlay is within neighborhood averages.
Concerning the neighborhood, easy walk to the many commercial businesses at the I-25/Hampden Avenue intersection including restaurants, a King Soopers and walking distance to the Southmoor Park-n-Ride and Light Rail Station. The Denver Tech Center is literally minutes door-to-door and downtown even during weekday morning traffic runs about 20 minutes.
A few caveats: 1) There is no FHA financing, thus buyers may have to come up with a higher downpayment. 2) The HOA requests all sales are to owner-occupants. 3) While many of the buildings have had their exteriors renovated, others have not. 4) Many units are accessed via stairs, thus not ADA accessible. 5) Lower level units may be below grade and thus dark.
Yet when compared to the immediate surrounding market, Monaco Place is a bargain. While prices for units still lag from the peaks in 2007, I believe there is inherent underlying value and potential equity appreciation. At asking prices running between $80K and $120K, for those able to secure a 20% downpayment, the underlying mortgage, HOA and taxes will still be less than comparable rent in the area for similar units.