The 4 “C” Factors Making Pueblo Colorado the Best Bargain in North America

January 26, 2014 at 11:54 pm  •  Posted in Pueblo by  •  28 Comments

[About 2 years ago I wrote a blog post about why I was relocating my family to Pueblo, Colorado. It’s become one of my most popular posts and has facilitated a number of new friendships and opportunities. One such opportunity was an invitation to speak at the Pueblo chapter of the Optimist Club. In preparation for that talk I came up with a new way to organize and communicate my thoughts on what makes Pueblo such a bargain: the 4 “C” factors.]

If you’ve ever purchased a diamond you are likely to have been introduced to the 4 Cs of diamond valuation: color, clarity, cut and carat.  As a diamond in the rough, Pueblo can be evaluated through the lens of 4 Cs as well. These 4 Cs combined make Pueblo, in my opinion, the best bargain in North America.

C1: Colorado

Pueblo is located about 100 miles south of Denver in the great State of Colorado. Colorado is an amazing place to live, primarily because of our access to the spectacular Rocky Mountains. And, just like Denver residents, Puebloans can easily drive to world class skiing. From Denver you might be more likely to head over to Vail or Aspen whereas from Pueblo we typically find ourselves in Salida where you can avoid the crowds and higher prices at the Monarch Mountain Ski Area. Salida is a great summer destination as well with excellent hiking, camping, mountain biking and river adventure options.  From Pueblo we are also closer than Denver to Crested Butte and Telluride if you want a more upscale mountain experience. Breckenridge is another popular option.

You’ll need to drive further to see the Broncos, the Nuggets, the Rockies, the Avalanche or other big city attractions but it’s an easy day trip. If you need to travel further Denver International Airport is about a 2 hour drive which is only about an hour longer than you’d need to allow from downtown Denver. I prefer to fly out of the Colorado Springs airport whenever possible because it’s so much easier. Last month I grabbed a direct flight from COS to O’Hare to visit clients in Chicago. Door to door from home to the airport is about 40 minutes and long term parking is $6 per day. If only business travel could always be so easy and affordable.

C2: Climate

Pueblo has one of the most delightful climates you’ll find in North America. We get more annual sunshine than San Diego yet we enjoy all 4 seasons.  It gets cold and snows from time to time during the winter but it’s just as likely to be sunny and 60 degrees. Summers can be hot but we have very little humidity and thanks to the altitude it typically cools off in the evening. Try this. Add a desktop shortcut or mobile widget that will allow you to see the weather where you live now and in Pueblo. Unless you live in Sonoma County, California I’m willing to bet that Pueblo will consistently have better weather.

C3: Cost

Ok, we’re in Colorado and we have fantastic weather. Must be expensive, right? No. Pueblo is a cheapskate’s dream. Buy a charming historical home near the Pueblo Community College for $100k. Or a fixer for $60k. Sounds too good to be true, right? Believe it. Sure you can buy a newer home with granite counter tops in Denver or Colorado Springs for $400k. Maybe for you those stainless steel appliances and vaulted ceilings will be worth the 4x mortgage payment? Or perhaps you like paying a premium to be near the LA style traffic scene in Denver? Once you’re settled into your $100k Pueblo mortgage with monthly payments south of $500 you can unload your new-found disposable income on Kiddie Rides at City Park. If you avoid the high-priced carousel and jump house (both $0.50 per ride) it will cost all of $0.25 per ride. Big spender, eh? Walk across the parking lot to the Pueblo Zoo where you’ll find an outstanding collection of exhibits and admission prices at $8 per adult and $6 per kid (we prefer the $60 annual family membership – with 3 kids it pays for itself in 2 visits). I could go on and on with examples. Pueblo is one of the least expensive places to live in the U.S.

C4: Culture

Pueblo’s culture is truly unique. Many people come to Pueblo expecting a smaller version of Denver or Colorado Springs but instead find a blend of Albuquerque and Pittsburgh. Pueblo is one of a kind but it’s certainly not for everyone. Here are a few screening options to see if Pueblo is right for you.

So, is Pueblo perfect? Of course not. Far from it. Like a lot of American cities, Pueblo is struggling economically. There aren’t enough good jobs. There is too much crime. Our public schools are failing too many students. Non-automotive transportation options are limited. Many of our neighborhoods could really use a face lift. And, currently our local University is experiencing a budget crisis.

But the value you’ll find in Pueblo can’t be matched anywhere in North America.



  1. Adam M. / January 29, 2014 at 12:29 pm / Reply

    Great post, Justin, very informative.
    For people considering relocating (I personally am considering locations such as Colorado or the Northwest because I will inevitably be priced out of my current living area in San Francisco), I’ve been thinking of developing an interactive map to help me find where I’d like to live, which would aid in finding the right neighborhood dependent on my personal interests and desires. Imagine a zillow customized for each of us but instead of housing information, it would display neighborhood and community information.
    This post for Pueblo, CO, demonstrates helpful information for interested parties. If we had a database of communities on a state or national level with detailed ranking per variable (something similar to the 4 C’s above), people could get a better idea of which community might best suit their interests.

    • Justin / January 29, 2014 at 2:54 pm / Reply

      Thanks, Adam! I love your idea and I don’t think it would be a terribly onerous application to build but it would require just enough time (to do it well) that it’s difficult to prioritize over other projects…especially those that bring in revenue. Maybe it’s a project for someone out there who needs internship-like experience? Thanks again! Best, Justin

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  5. Candi / March 21, 2014 at 11:14 am / Reply

    Justin, Thanks for the very informative articles. It’s of interest to me that you also used to live in Eugene, OR. I too am a full-time telecommuter and am looking to relocate to someplace warmer and more in line with my ideas. In my research I found that Eugene was out of my financial reach right now. Pueblo was on the other end of that spectrum. I was looking to Eugene for the purported left-leaning and alternative culture and because it was deemed one of the greenest cities in America. How would you rate Pueblo on social political issues? Is there a burgeoning green movement? I look forward to your response. Thanks – Candi

    • Justin / March 21, 2014 at 11:47 am / Reply

      Hi Candi! Ok, I found a “green city” index but it only rates large cities:
      On a 100 point scale it has San Francisco and Vancouver as the greenest cities in North America at 83 and 81, respectively. On the low end it lists Detroit at 28 and St. Louis at 35. Eugene is probably an 85 or something like that. I’d say Pueblo is probably in the 50-60 range, on par with Pittsburgh and Phoenix. Pueblo is beginning to make strides as a solar energy capital of sorts but still has a long way to go in terms of transportation, land use, etc. On social-political issues Pueblo is a mixed bag. Like America, citizens in Pueblo are sharply divided on hot-button issues but, overall, Pueblo tends to vote and lean “Blue”. Note that Pueblo has a strong Latino culture and roughly 50% of the population classify themselves as Hispanic on census forms. I think this helps create a more tolerant community. So, yes, I’d say there is a growing group of citizens favoring progressive/green policies but I wouldn’t characterize it as a burgeoning movement and there are many in Pueblo, and especially in Pueblo West, doing their best to move Pueblo the opposite direction. Hope this helps! Best of luck with your relocation decision! Cheers, Justin

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  7. luis / September 28, 2014 at 9:52 pm / Reply

    I’ve been to Pueblo many times looking for properties so far what I’ve seen is not good. If it’s a cheap property looks like it should be condemned. If it’s a good house it’s to expensive for the beat up area. Good luck!

    • Justin / September 29, 2014 at 10:41 am / Reply

      Hi Luis, your writing is exactly like the person who commented on my main Pueblo post but I see you changed your name/email here for some reason. I don’t think you have any idea what you’re talking about. The return I’ve seen from real estate investments in Pueblo is excellent. I challenge you to identify a market, in Colorado or anywhere else in the US, providing better value for your housing dollar. Best, JH

  8. Chris / April 22, 2015 at 2:04 pm / Reply


    I went to school in Pueblo back in 84-88. The area has certainly grown. How would you rate the downtown area as far as investment property?


    • Justin / April 23, 2015 at 12:18 pm / Reply

      Hi Chris,
      Pueblo real estate is very inexpensive and there are many good investment opportunities. As far as “downtown” and, I assume, commercial real estate I don’t see as much upside. The Union Historic district is over-priced in my opinion and commercial properties near Main, Santa Fe, Court, etc between 1st and 10th would be difficult to lease and expensive to maintain and/or rehab. Plus all of downtown is in a flood zone. I prefer the other side of the river in the Mesa Junction along Abriendo Avenue. Lower prices in a walkable neighborhood that I think will improve in the coming years. Hope this helps.

      • Chris / April 24, 2015 at 2:16 pm / Reply


        Thanks for the reply. I should have been more specific. I’m looking at buying a condo to rent out and then use for myself or possibly sell further on down the line. Any thoughts on that? Interesting that downtown is in a flood zone. I hadn’t even considered that.


        • Justin / April 27, 2015 at 12:14 am / Reply

          Chris, there’s not much inventory but you can find condos in the Union Historic District and Downtown. Maybe one or two near City Park. I don’t know the condo market very well. If you become interested in single family houses I can be more helpful. Best wishes, Justin

  9. Stephanie Tinsley / June 25, 2015 at 9:39 am / Reply

    Hello from Oklahoma! My family is wanting to move to Pueblo but we don’t know who to contact for rental property? Do you have any suggestions? We sold our house here and are ready to try something different. It’s going to be my husband, myself and a 12 year old daughter. We also don’t know what schools would be the best for her? She’s very shy and I would really appreciate any help that you could give me! Thanks so much!

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  11. Susan / January 13, 2016 at 8:45 pm / Reply

    I grew up in La Junta, and after 30 years of living in Germany, NJ, and Austin, TX, we’re considering relocating to either NM (between the TX relatives and the CO relatives) and CO, and Pueblo is at the top of our list for Colorado, as we have relatives there (near Centennial HS) and it seems way more affordable and less crowded than Colorado Springs (where I spent my college and early adult years.) Your blog has been helpful in our decision making process.

    One area that looks interesting to us is on the south side (can’t remember the name, but the streets have “college” names – Dartmouth, Cornell, etc. We’re interested in mid-century modern/ranch houses, etc. One place that is out – Pueblo West.

    Question – it seems that most of the Pueblo houses for sale we’ve seen online have electric ranges and not gas. When we lived in CS/Manitou, we always had gas ranges, and we really prefer them. Are electric ranges pretty much standard for Pueblo? Most of the houses seem to have gas heating, so we could do a conversion (or perhaps get an induction range.)

    Also, I enjoy the geography aspects of your blog. I work with undergraduate physics and math majors, and I sometimes recommend exploring geography as a major if they decide to leave physics or math. These are students in good standing, but they’ve decided they don’t want to live in a lab, or have decided they aren’t that keen on mathematical proofs. Geography isn’t even on their radar, and if it is, they don’t realize how it can be a good field for students with quantitative abilities. The students who did switch have done quite well and have found internships and jobs and/or have gone on to graduate programs. (and of course, geography courses make excellent electives if they stay with math/physics!)

    • Justin / January 15, 2016 at 4:51 pm / Reply

      Hi Susan!
      Thanks for taking time to leave a comment. I’m delighted to hear my blog has been helpful.
      The neighborhood of interest is probably Sunset. I like that area/location too and I think it might have the best inventory given your interest in ranch/mid century modern.
      We have a gas range and there are plenty. Probably the houses you’re seeing haven’t been updated and electric is fairly standard in rentals and older homes. Shouldn’t be a big deal to convert.
      Glad to hear you’re a geography fan! I love quant geography and it’s great you’re aware of career opportunities in the field. GIScience and Climatology are particularly ripe for folks with a math/physics background interested in applied or environmental research.
      Let me know if you land in Pueblo and want to grab coffee!

      Best wishes,

  12. Ricky Putman / April 19, 2016 at 11:28 am / Reply

    Hey Justin! My wife and I read both articles you wrote about Pueblo. Good stuff! We’re actually looking to relocate to Pueblo in May as I am getting a job offer in Springs. We want to invest in real estate. It’d be awesome if we could chat about a good way to get in to that in Pueblo. Would you mind connecting with us about it?

    • Justin / April 19, 2016 at 11:49 am / Reply

      Hi Ricky,
      I’m happy to help. Send me a note via my contact form below and we can go from there.
      Best wishes,

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  14. Kim OBrien / August 7, 2016 at 2:23 pm / Reply

    My husband and I are thinking about leaving San Antonio for Pueblo. We are tired of the humid weather and although it gets hot in Pueblo, am I right in understanding there are four distinct seasons ? Your blog has been so informative. If you could address the climate I would appreciate it.

    • Justin / August 8, 2016 at 4:13 pm / Reply

      Hi Kim,
      See below for the paragraph I wrote about Pueblo’s climate. Yes, 4 distinct seasons. Texans love visiting Colorado to escape the heat. Might be a little colder than you like it from time to time but I think overall you’ll love it.
      Best wishes,

        C2: Climate

      Pueblo has one of the most delightful climates you’ll find in North America. We get more annual sunshine than San Diego yet we enjoy all 4 seasons. It gets cold and snows from time to time during the winter but it’s just as likely to be sunny and 60 degrees. Summers can be hot but we have very little humidity and thanks to the altitude it typically cools off in the evening. Try this. Add a desktop shortcut or mobile widget that will allow you to see the weather where you live now and in Pueblo. Unless you live in Sonoma County, California I’m willing to bet that Pueblo will consistently have better weather.

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  16. Simone Aydelott / January 15, 2017 at 4:54 pm / Reply

    We are looking to relocate (coming up on retirement age in a few years) and really like what we’ve researched about Pueblo. Your blogs have been very helpful getting a feel for the place from a well rounded perspective. We are planning a visit possibly late Spring this year but I’d like to ask you a question regarding the typical weather – Is wind a factor in Pueblo? We live in WA state and there are cities/towns along the mountain ranges that are in a “wind tunnel” and fairly constant winds are a factor. Does Pueblo have areas that are typically “high wind areas” or is wind or wind chill not really an issue?

    A & S

    • Justin / January 15, 2017 at 9:04 pm / Reply

      Hi A & S,
      Wind is a problem in Pueblo West (Google “tumbleweeds” and “Pueblo West” and you’ll see some ridiculous images of tumbleweeds piled a mile high, blocking people’s homes and businesses). It’s often windy on the CSU-Pueblo campus (atop a hill) and on the western edge of the city where there’s nothing but prairie to the west. That said, where I live on the north side and in most neighborhoods within the city, wind is not really an issue at all. If you see plenty of trees in a neighborhood there won’t be excessive wind. Doesn’t mean you won’t experience heavy winds from time to time. But, certainly not a reason to avoid the City of Pueblo.
      Best wishes,

      • Simone Aydelott / January 16, 2017 at 9:25 pm / Reply

        Thank you! We’re really looking forward to checking out Pueblo in real time this Spring.

        Take Care,
        A & S

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