Highlands Ranch appeals to young families, retirees seeking quiet

Highlands Ranch, one of Colorado’s largest master-planned communities, provides homeowners with 2,000 acres of open space, 70 miles of trails, and more than 20 parks. The community also has four state-of-the-art recreation centers and two 18-hole golf courses.

This suburban oasis is located 12 miles south of the Denver metro area on land that was part of the Louisiana Purchase. Initially developed by the Mission Viejo Company, Shea Homes purchased the property in 1997.

The Highlands Ranch Community Association is a non-profit that employs around 800 people. With an annual budget of $23 million, the association maintains the recreation centers, provides architectural control and covenant enforcement, manages the Backcountry Wilderness Area, and hosts over 100 community events annually.

Amber Pope, with 8z real estate, moved with her family to Highlands Ranch in 2010. While the association is strict, she says enforcing the covenants helps keep the community’s home values high.

“Highlands Ranch enjoys a higher home appreciation than some other communities,” Pope says.

What’s available?

The community primarily offers single-family homes, but some condos, townhomes, and apartments are available, Pope says. Single-family homes range from starter homes to multi-million mansions.

She says the average price is $780,000 for a 3,000-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-bath home.

With limited inventory, Highlands Ranch is still a seller’s market, but higher interest rates keep some homes on the market longer. But most still sell in less than 20 days, and some go under contract the first weekend they are listed.

Who’s moving in?

Highlands Ranch primarily draws families with younger children.

But, the community also appeals to older residents who want quiet, walkable neighborhoods in a suburban setting.

Highlands Ranch offers easy accessibility to the Denver metro area via E-470, Interstate 25, and the RTD light rail.

Highlands Ranch Mansion

Once a working ranch, Highlands Ranch Mansion, nestled in a 250-acre park, is a popular destination for tours and events.

The grounds around the mansion include a working ranch with houses, barns, corrals, pastures, and 1.4 miles of trails that offer breathtaking views and connect to the Highlands Ranch Metro District’s extensive trail system.

Visitors can rent the mansion for private events like weddings or take a guided public tour. It’s also home to public events like this weekend’s free holiday celebration.

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, visitors can take self-guided tours, meet Santa, enjoy music, gift vendors, face painting, horse-drawn hayrides, reindeer games, and a gingerbread-themed scavenger hunt.

There’s no parking at the mansion, but a free shuttle bus ferries participants from the St. Andrew United Methodist Church parking lot, 9203 S. University Blvd.

The news and editorial staffs of The Denver Post had no role in this post’s preparation.

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