Are we surprised, though?
Money Magazine ranked Parker second on its top 50 list of Best Places to Live for 2020, citing the suburb's breathtaking views and proximity to wildlife combined with economic strength. The article says Parker received top scores in two of its categories: Economy and Income, and Health and Safety.
Paying homage to the town's relatively recent roots as a ranching outpost, the listing acknowledges Parker's growth from about 5,000 people 30 years ago to about 59,000 and growing today driven by Denver's white-collar workers and young families looking to spread out. Despite its breakneck growth during the past three decades, the town has managed to maintain a small-town feel with a strong sense of community. That sense of community was evident during COVID-19, according to the article, which quoted local businesses recounting stories of Parker residents making a habit of supporting small businesses in the area that were hardest hit by the pandemic.
While the median home price in Parker is nearing the half-million mark ($486,000), Parker remains a housing bargain compared with the market in Denver. The average price per square foot in Parker is $169 compared with $338 in Denver. Many Parker residents work remotely or commute to the Tech Center or Denver.
"Based on our estimates, only about one in five Parker residents works in industries seriously impacted by COVID-19, like retail and entertainment," said the ranking. "And about 76% of the people here own their homes."
This is not Parker's first time on Money's ranking of best places to live. In 2013, Parker ranked 12th on the list.
The list evaluated towns and cities with a population of at least 25,000 and placed emphasis on economic factors like employment opportunities as well as supply and demand for homes, cost of living, quality of schools, racial and economic diversity, and health and safety.
"This year, given the general uncertainty around where and how we'll live, our list looks a little different," said Prachi Bhardwaj, lead reporter of Money's Best Places to Live. "We shifted our priorities to pay more attention to cities that aren't just doing well now, but that show great promise and stability for the next five to ten years. We also included suburban towns situated further away from major metros and have more industry diversity than you've seen from our list in years past."
Broomfield also made Money's list this year. The city ranked 18th thanks to its parks, trail systems, ponds, and outdoor art exhibits, along with a strong job market and a healthy housing market.
Are you surprised by Parker's rankings? Leave a comment below.