Mesa County real estate sales lag, but outlook upbeat
Phil Castle, The Business Times
Real estate sales in Mesa County during April kept pace with the same month last year, but overall activity so far in 2014 hasn’t yet caught up with 2013.
The outlook for the coming months, traditionally the busiest for the year for the local market, remains upbeat nonetheless.
“I think we’re going to see a really, really good May,” said Sandy Borman, a real estate agent who runs the Borman Group at Keller Williams Colorado West Realty in Grand Junction. Borman also also serves as a regional spokeswoman for the Colorado Association of Realtors.
Annette Miller, senior vice president of Heritage Title Co. in Grand Junction, said 295 real estate transactions worth a collective $61.1 million were reported in Mesa County during April. Compared to the same month last year, sales were nearly unchanged, while dollar volume increased 7.4 percent.
“Honestly, I think that’s a tick up in the trend because we were kind of falling behind,” Miller said.
Year-over-year declines in real estate sales and dollar volume were reported in Mesa County during January and March. February activity increased largely on the strength of large commercial transactions.
Through the first four months of 2014, 994 transactions worth a combined $194 million were reported, Miller said. Compared to the same span in 2013, sales sagged 7.2 percent and dollar volume retreated 4 percent.
Borman attributed part of the decline to inclement winter weather and uncertainty related over health insurance premiums associated with the new federal health care law.
Activity since has increased, though, and Borman said her real estate company is poised to enjoy what could be it’s best May on record.
While demand remains strong for homes priced under $150,000, there’s also increasing demand for homes priced above $400,000 and development property, she said. “It’s definitely a very encouraging sign for our Grand Junction market.”
Miller said nearly 1,100 real estate transactions worth a total of almost $227 million were reported in Mesa County during May, June and July of 2013. “Those are some good numbers to try and keep up with.”
By the end of 2014, Borman said she expects real estate activity to top 2013, but probably only a little bit.
Given the connection between the real estate market and economic and job growth that remains stubbornly slow in Mesa County, Miller said she hopes real estate activity holds even.
On the other hand, a decrease in property foreclosure activity constitutes an encouraging trend, Borman and Miller said.
For April, 45 foreclosure filings and 39 foreclosure sales were reported, Miller said. Compared to the same month last year, filings dropped 23.7 percent and sales tumbled 30.4 percent.
For the first four months of 2014, 193 filings and 176 sales were reported. Compared to the same span in 2013, filings fell 20 percent and sales slumped 25.4 percent, Miller said.
The sale of 129 foreclosed properties through the first four months of 2014 represented just 14 percent of all transactions, she said. That proportion keeps moving closer to the 10 percent threshold Miller considers indicative of a healthy market. “We’re still hearing in a very good direction.”