Charlotte vs. Denver: In Which City Are Fans Living Better?

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Dever vs. Carolina

The Denver Broncos return to their second championship game in three years, while the Carolina Panthers snapped their 12-year absence with an impressive 17-1 record. Much of the talk leading up to the big game has been about Denver’s Peyton Manning and Carolina’s Cam Newton. The former number one overall selections in the NFL draft are at different parts of their careers, with one most likely about to play his final NFL game, and the other looking to solidify his position as the new face of the NFL. While these two superstars are gearing up to go to battle, we decided to get our agents’ takes on which city is a better place for a sports fan to call home.

“Charlotte doesn’t need to legalize marijuana in order to keep its residents happy,” said Charlotte Redfin agent Julie McGee Sharpe. “We’re a sports town and we pride ourselves on having the best BBQ, craft brews and live music to properly celebrate a championship team. Keep pounding, Panthers!”

“You don’t hear John Denver singing about the coast of Carolina. It’s all about the Rocky Mountain High,” said Denver Redfin agent Greg Goldstein. “Denver is a beautiful city with mountain views, plenty of sunshine and home to a team with some of the best football players of all time. Peyton Manning, John Elway and Terrell Davis have all donned the orange and blue. Carolina fans should fear the forehead, in addition to our amazing defense.”

Since our agents’ viewpoints appear to be a bit biased toward their home cities, we decided to take a bit more of an objective view on what life is like off the field in these cities. We looked at data from various sources including StubHub, Census data and information Redfin gets from the multiple listing services (MLS) in each city to find out what it’s really like to live in Charlotte or Denver.

Ticket Prices (via StubHub): Charlotte — 1, Denver — 0

If you’re looking to catch a game without season tickets, it will cost $167 during the regular season in Charlotte and $375 during the playoffs. Compare that to $299 during the regular season in Denver and $408 in the playoffs, and it looks like Charlotte is the cheaper alternative to watch a great football team live.

Getting More Home for Your Money: Charlotte — 1, Denver — 0

Charlotte has a larger population than Denver (809,958 vs. 663,862), and Charlotte is also larger in geographical size by 145 square miles. Charlotte has a homeownership rate of 55 percent, and the median price per square foot of a home is $100. In Denver, the homeownership rate is 50 percent and the median sale price is $149 per square feet. Last December, Denver remained one of the fastest markets in the U.S. with half of all new listings selling in 18 days or or less. Since Denver is way more competitive and you get less home for your buck, we’re granting Charlotte this point

Affording a Home in the First Place: Charlotte — 1, Denver — 0

According to the latest Census data, the median household income in Charlotte is $53,274, while in Denver it’s $51,800. Charlotte’s median home sale price is $195,000 and its average offers per listing is 1.5. Denver’s median sale price is $315,000 and homes there average 1.7 offers per listing. Since Charlotte has a higher median household income and homes are generally cheaper with less offers, we’re giving Panther’s fans the nod again.

Getting an Education: Charlotte — 1, Denver — 1

The public schools in Charlotte have a GreatSchools rating of 6, while Denver’s is 5. However, more people in Denver have a Bachelor’s degree or higher compared to Charlotte (44% vs. 40%), so we’ll call this one a tie.

Getting Around: Charlotte — 0, Denver — 1

It looks like Denver beats Charlotte when it comes to Earth-friendly transportation and having amenities available in walking distance. Denver has a Walk Score of 56, which is more than two times higher than Charlotte’s Walk Score of 24. With its flat landscape, urban Denver is a great city for bikers, resulting in an impressive Bike Score of 71. This dwarfs Charlotte’s Bike Score of 36. One point for Denver!

Dating & Marriage: Charlotte — 1, Denver — 1

Census data shows that in both cities the largest age group for males and females is 25 to 29 years old, with nine percent% of Charlotte’s and 11 percent of Denver’s population in that range. In both cities, 30 to 34 is the next most populated range of age.

Since the two cities are similar in age, you’d expect the marriage rate to be similar, and it is! Forty-two percent of Charlotte residents are married, while 40 percent of Denver residents are married. Both cities are also pretty close in terms of male to female population (48% to 52% vs. 50% to 50%). The median resident age in Charlotte is 33, and 34 in Denver. Much like Foreigner, we don’t know what love is, we’re real estate people. So, we’ll just call this one a tie.

Enjoying the Weather: Charlotte — 0, Denver — 1

Charlotte is warmer, with an average temperature of 59.8 compared to Denver’s 50.7. There are almost 300 more hours of sunshine per year in Denver, and it has about 50 more inches of snow (if Charlotte even gets any snow… it depends on the year). Charlotte has the hurricane factor going against it, and the Monday Night Football game against Indianapolis as a reminder that it can really come down during harsh conditions. Touchdown Broncos!

Tech-Assisted Living, Top Chefs and Toilets: Charlotte — 0, Denver — 1

At Redfin, we like to have a little fun with all of the data that we have on hand. We’ve published reports on the best cities for coffee snobs, technology-assisted living, home cooking and toilets. Yes, toilets. In each report, Denver beat Charlotte, which often didn’t even make the top 10 list. There’s one exception: Charlotte is apparently a great area to see Christmas lights, with McAdenville coming in at number two in the nation. So, if you enjoy cooking, drinking coffee and quickly finding a loo after all that cooking and coffee, then Denver is your city. If you enjoy holiday carols and colorful lights, head to Charlotte.

Sports History – Charlotte — 0, Denver — 1

While these teams are deserving of their Super Bowl birth, Denver has a much better championship history. Denver has the Colorado Avalanche, who won the Stanley Cup in their first year in 1995-96 and again in the 2000-01 season. The Broncos also won the Super Bowl in 1997 and 1998. Charlotte doesn’t have much of a championship history to speak of in major professional sports, with the Charlotte Hornets and Carolina Panthers not winning any titles. In fact, before the Panthers hosted the Cardinals in the NFC Championship game last Sunday, the last time the city hosted a conference championship game in one of the four major sports was in 1973. Chalk up another point for Denver!

Final Score: Charlotte — 5, Denver — 6

Below is a summary of the data we looked at to arrive at this conclusion. Are you ready to move to Denver now? Or, was Charlotte close enough and you prefer the coast of Carolina to mile-high air? Head over to to compare homes for sale in Charlotte and Denver, or get in touch with a Redfin real estate agent today to book a home tour in either city.


Which city do you think is better in the Charlotte vs. Denver showdown? Share this report and tell us on Facebook, Twitter, G+ or in the comments below!

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Jon writes about real estate and works with journalists and agents across the country. He previously worked at an advertising and PR agency in Madison, helping the world understand why every pizza needs Wisconsin Cheese. His dream home would have a water slide in the master bedroom to make getting out of bed a splash. Redfin is a full-service real estate brokerage that uses modern technology to make clients smarter and faster. For more information about working with a Redfin real estate agent to buy or sell a home, visit our Why Redfin page.

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