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

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January 26, 2014 at 11:54 pm  •  Posted in Pueblo by  •  8 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.

 

8 Comments

  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: http://www.siemens.com/entry/cc/en/greencityindex.htm.
      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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