A Tale of Two Super Cities

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Seattle vs. Denver cover image

Chances are you know which team you’re rooting for this Sunday, but how do Seattle and Denver stack up off the field? In preparation for Super Bowl XLVIII, here’s a deeper look at real estate — and a few bragging rights — in Seahawks and Broncos territories.

Mile High city vs. waterfront living

Denver is known for its elevation a mile above sea level with close proximity to hiking trails and top ski resorts. Seattle, by contrast, is a city surrounded by water. Elliott Bay sits to the west and several lakes in and around the city provide residents an urban lifestyle as well as easy access to boating, hiking and skiing. The popular rom-com, “Sleepless in Seattle” also gave notice to the Emerald City’s fun and funky real estate offering: floating homes. Both cities are known for their charming, livable neighborhoods.

1133 14th St Unit 2630, Denver, CO
For sale: $1.7 million

Denver mile high condo

This luxury condo above Denver’s Four Seasons Hotel affords prime mountain and city views from a private, 373-square-foot balcony. The interior has been outfitted with sleek finishes including a mosaic stone fireplace, standalone sculptured bathtub and maple-wood floors.

2031 Fairview Ave E #P, Seattle, WA
For sale: $775,000

Seattle floating home

This floating home on Lake Union is the epitome of Seattle waterfront living. The 1,100-square-foot abode has its own rooftop deck and hip garage door that can be swung open for indoor/outdoor entertaining. Best of all, you can canoe or kayak from the front door.

Sleeper vs. spite house

Beyond Denver and Seattle’s mountain and water landscapes, the real estate scene in both cities is marked by a few standout properties with their own unique stories.

855 Visionary Trl, Golden, CO
Last sold: $1.529 million

sleeper-house

About 30 miles outside of Denver in Golden, CO, is a modern phenomenon that fans of the 1973 film “Sleeper” will immediately recognize. This futuristic home (above) in the Genesee neighborhood was used in the sci-fi comedy starring Woody Allen and Diane Keaton. While its real estate track record has been mixed — it avoided foreclosure in 2009 but eventually sold at an auction in 2010 — Denver real estate agent Scott Nordby says it remains a standout property with locals calling it “Spaceship Genesee.”

2022 24th Ave E, Seattle, WA
For sale: $384,500

spite house

This home wasn’t always a pie-shaped wedge. But its unusual shape and size (15 feet wide) are reminders of the home’s unforgettable roots. The story goes that the man who originally owned the property wanted to sell it to some folks who were building next door, thinking it could expand their property and have use as a garden. However the neighbors thought he was selling out of desperation, so they offered a counter price well below his ask. The man was furious as a result and set out to prove them wrong. He built a new home on the “unbuildable” land and, as a final touch of spite, painted the wall facing the neighbors solid black. The 830-square-foot home hit the Montlake real estate market in October and has been making headlines as the “Spite House” ever since.

By the numbers

For a side-by-side comparison of the Denver and Seattle real estate markets, here’s a few stats and fun facts to boost your Broncos or Seahawks pride.

Denver

Seattle

Median home value $253,300 $430,700
Median list price $319,900 $410,000
Population 603,372 611,803
Median age 35 37
Homes with kids 21.8% 18.2%
Avg. commute time (mins) 26 27
Major pro sports teams 5 4
4-year colleges 6 9
Known for… Oysters, Denver Mint, Coors Beer, mountain views, sun, snow Starbucks Coffee, Salmon, Space Needle, Microsoft, water views, rain

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Catherine Sherman, a real estate writer for Zillow Blog, covers real estate news, industry trends and home design. Read more of her work here.

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