Buena Vista, Colorado is a growing, vibrant community in the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains.  


Population in 2014: 2,730 (96% urban, 4% rural). Population change since 2000: +24.6%
Population northern Chaffee County 5,500
Estimated Buena Vista area population 8,225
Males: 1,447 (52.9%)
Females: 1,287 (47.1%)
Median resident age: 40.2
Colorado median age:  36.4 years
Zip codes: 81211.
Estimated median household income in 2015: $45,778 (it was $34,800 in 2000)
Buena Vista: $45,778
CO: $63,909

Estimated per capita income in 2015: $23,485 (it was $16,920 in 2000)

The dominant economic sectors in Chaffee County are health care, construction, tourism and real estate related industries which is typical of high amenity mountain area economies. Job growth has been strong since the Great Recession but split between middle and low wage industries.

Employment (job) levels in Chaffee County have exceeded the pre-recession levels of 2008 by 556 jobs, an increase of 8.3 percent. Since 2010, job growth occurred at an annual rate of 2.6 percent. The largest increases were in Health Care and Accommodation and Food Services, which each gained just over 200 jobs. Health care is expanding nationally to meet the needs of the aging baby boomer generation. The hotel and restaurant sector in Chaffee County has grown substantially as tourism and second home appeal have increased.

The average wage in Chaffee County is $33,413 per year, or about $16.00 per hour. The self-sufficiency wage for one adult and a preschooler is estimated at $18.70 per hour and approximately $14.00 per hour for two working adults with two children. 1 Since 2010, about a quarter of the new jobs were in health care with an average wage of $40,000 per year ($19.36/hr). Another quarter of the new jobs however were in hotels and restaurants with an average wage (before gratuities) of just $17,500 or $8.41 per hour, just above federal minimum wage.


Due to vast amounts of National Forest and State lands, only about 17% of the land is available for development in Chaffee County. Prices vary depending on location and amenities such as trees, terrain, views, water and utilities.
For information on building costs, septic systems and other concerns contact a Realtor from our membership directory.
The growth both in tourism and relocation is also evident in a substantial increase in sales tax.
The following statistics reflect that growth:

Estimated median house or condo value in 2015: $231,346 (it was $121,900 in 2000)
Buena Vista: $231,346

Median gross rent in 2015: $872.

The proportion of second homes in Chaffee County is currently estimated at 17 percent and has not changed significantly for 15 years, since the 2000 U.S. Census. Many local builders, tradespeople, and real estate brokers earn the majority of their living serving this segment of the housing market.
Source Chaffee County Housing Needs Assessment August 26, 20

Buena Vista VRBO Stats Estimates Summer 2017

Sleeps                    Number of Rentals Night        Cost (Avg)
2+                          155                                     $78+
4+                          149                                    $78+
6+                          129                                    $166-499
8+                           89                                     $142+
10+                         51                                     $150-572
12+                         25                                     $179-572
14+                         14                                     $179-572


Property Tax Mill Levies:
R-31 School District 2016 32.509
Town of Buena Vista 2017 7.484
Total of other Mill Levies within Buena Vista 2016 16.588
Total Average Combined Mill Levies within Buena Vista 56.581
Retail Sales & Use Taxes 2017
State 2.9%
Buena Vista 2.5%
Chaffee County 25%
Lodging 1.9%

Median real estate property taxes paid for housing units with mortgages in 2015: $819 (0.3%)
Median real estate property taxes paid for housing units with no mortgage in 2015: $744 (0.4%)

The Town of Buena Vista is projecting $1,429,599 in sales tax in 2017, an increase of 3%.
Town is also projecting a 3% increase in the County‘s allocation in sales tax to the Town resulting in $919,004 in revenues.

Buena Vista has experienced the following increases in sales tax excluding the onetime sales tax audit revenue in 2010.

2012 to 2013 an increase of 3.15%
2013 to 2014 an increase of 5.0%
2014 to 2015 an increase of 7.0%
2015 to 2016 an increase of 10.0%


Major areas of employment: tourism, trade, prison, city & county Government, and schools
Buena Vista Area Bed Count 2013: 813
Buena Vista Area 2015 Traffic Count: West of Johnson Village (intersection Hwy 24 & 285) = 6,600 / day avg daily traffic; Hwy 24 & Main St. = 12,000 / avg daily traffic

The Town of Buena Vista Economic Assessment

This 2017 report is an excellent resource for those considering relocation to this area. CLICK HERE to view this report.