370 Arapahoe Ave, Unit C, Boulder listed and sold by Lynne McDougal. (Photo: Virtuance).

While this past year has been anything but normal, it is now routine to see Colorado receive distinctions left and right, especially when it comes to the quality of life and economic vitality.

• In October 2020, U.S. News revealed their rankings for the Best Place to Live and four of the top five on the list were in Colorado, with Boulder ranked number one.

• In January 2021, Boulder claimed the top spot on Yahoo’s list of best places to live for quality of life.

• In February 2021, Zillow named the greater Denver metro the sixth hottest housing market.

With headlines like these, like it or not, our little bubble of paradise has been discovered, and for good reason. We enjoy great weather, seasons and more sunshine than the state of Florida. Our amazing outdoor lifestyle makes it easy to hike, ski, fish and bike. A thriving restaurant scene, theater and sports venues, and our indomitable international airport are added pluses for the metro area.

With plentiful and diverse employment, companies of all types and sizes continue to pick Denver for their headquarters, or their HQ2s. Between that and the quality of life, people continue to move here, particularly millennials and Gen Zers. Compared to places like the Bay Area, New York and New England, Colorado is affordable, although that is changing rapidly.

Colorado has attracted outsiders for decades. According to the US Census Bureau, Colorado saw the twelfth-highest state population growth at .85% from 2019 to 2020, which translates to just under 50,000 people. That’s not a huge number, but it feels like people are moving here in droves.

Every year the associates at WK Real Estate attend courses offered by their award-winning Relocation Department and by their Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® and Luxury Portfolio International® networks to learn about where people are moving and why. Understanding these dynamics allows each WK associate to serve their clients better, those moving both into and out of the greater Boulder, Denver and Northern Colorado communities that WK Real Estate serves.

7372 Talon Trail in Parker listed by Matt Ladwig. (Photo by VisuTour/Joe Thompson).

Welcome to Colorado
Per several moving company studies, many Americans relocated because of COVID-19, corporations relocated employees at much lower rates for work transfers or assignments.

For example, many work sites, including Boulder’s new Google office moved remote, and although employees are expected to be asked to work in their offices three times a week, Google will not fully reopen until sometime in 2021. Like Google, for most businesses 2021 will be a year in flux, and corporate relocations will be no exception. Google’s industry peers such as Facebook and Twitter closed offices in 2020 and will allow most employees to work remotely indefinitely.

“2020 was essentially a year of suspended animation in the corporate relocation business” said Pam Metzger, one of the Boulder area’s only Certified Relocation Professionals (CRP®) and WK Real Estate’s VP of Relocation & Corporate Services. “WK has been a preferred provider to Google and many other major area employers of all sizes for years. We saw very few corporate relocation initiations in 2020 and are just now starting to see them trickle in this year. Many people that we did relocate here in 2020 now have permanent flexibility in their location due to liberal work-from-home policies. If they can work from anywhere, they want to be in Colorado for lifestyle and family reasons. Our WK relocation-trained and certified associates are ready to help.”

Remote work and learning prompt moves
Colorado has been an emerging hub for technology for years, confirmed in 2020 by a study by CompTIA. Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs made CompTIA’s list of Top 20 Best Tech Cities for IT Jobs. Colorado is predicted to be the No. 3 top growing cyberstate with 25% projected growth from 2018 to 2028.

This year’s United Van Lines Movers Study indicated 40% of Americans who moved did so for a new job or job transfer (down from prior years), and more than one in four (27%) moved to be closer to family (which is significantly up over prior years). In Colorado over 32% of the inbound moves with United Van Lines moved to be closer to family and an equal percentage moved because of a job.

According to a 2020 study by LendingTree, the greater Denver metro area is the No. 3 most popular metro area for millennial homebuyers. Over 59% of LendingTree’s mortgage requests last year came from millennials, many of whom are buying first or move-up homes.

“Our internal data indicates that over half of the relocation referrals we received in 2020 were either millennial homebuyers looking to move for jobs or quality of life or baby boomers who wanted to move closer to family,” states Dan Kingdom, Owner and President of
WK Real Estate.

WK Associates Jeremiah Daly and Rachel Daly assisted clients with a relocation from Miami in late 2020. “They were looking to get away from the dense population,” said Rachel Daly. “And they wanted a lifestyle change. They had been considering it for a while but found that since their kids were already in remote learning, it was an opportune time to make the transition.”

The Dalys utilized video and many other digital resources available to WK’s associates to assist with the Miami family’s long-distance home search, as well as other clients from Austin, TX. WK associates are well-equipped and trained to be the “boots on the ground” for their relocating clients.

According to 2020 studies by both United Van Lines and Atlas Van Lines, for the last decade Colorado has actually been a neutral state for migration, meaning the number of people moving into and out of the state is roughly the same. So why do people move out of Colorado and where do they go?

Areas that WK Real Estate has helped people relocate to in 2020. (Map: WK Real Estate).

Leaving Colorado
When people do move out of Colorado, the associates at WK Real Estate have significant experience and success introducing their clients to real estate professionals all over the world through their global partnerships and affiliations. For more than a decade WK Real Estate has won multiple prestigious awards from Leading Real Estate Companies of the World for assisting their clients with out-of-area real estate needs. WK’s global connections are critical when trying to assist clients out of the area.

Lydia Moy from WK Real Estate’s Longmont office assisted clients with successful moves to Boise, ID and Melbourne, FL in 2020. “Family became the highest motivation for my clients’ relocation decision,” said Moy. “My clients would like to be able to see their grandkids and/or be with their siblings during COVID. The pandemic has made time a more valuable asset than money.”

Moy’s clients that moved to Boise, ID weren’t alone in flocking to that region. Both Atlas Van Lines, United Van Lines and HireAHelper, a popular contract service for do-it-yourselfers, all reported that Idaho was the top nation’s destination state in 2020 with twice as many people moving in than out. Other top destinations were Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. Lower cost of living and taxes were the reasons for many top destinations.

And somewhere in between
Other destinations WK’s associates referred their clients to in 2020 were closer to home, and they weren’t often permanent moves. A new popular real estate term is the “co-primary home”. While a co-primary home is a second home, it’s a bit different from the standard second home because people view both homes as a primary home. It’s still a place to spend weekends, summers and holidays, but it’s also seen as a necessary place where people can work from home while focusing on lifestyle, health and tranquility.

Co-primary homes are often within two to three hours driving distance of the original residence. Through close relationships with partner companies in many of Colorado’s resort destination areas, WK Real Estates associates and Relocation Department work together in achieving their clients second and co-primary home goals. In 2020 WK made successful introductions resulting in transactions for their clients in most major real estate markets within Colorado, seeing the most activity in Summit County, Vail, Aspen, Steamboat and Park County.

Whether moving to Colorado, leaving Colorado, or looking for a co-primary home to realize your Rocky Mountain lifestyle dreams, the associates at WK Real Estate make it happen for their clients. With the relationships, the technology, the experience and the training they help their clients get where they want to go to live their best life.

For more information, visit wkre.com.