Phil Castle, The Business Times
It’s no longer a question of if 2017 will be a better year for the Mesa County real estate market than 2016, but how much better.
Meanwhile, a new question arises: What about 2018?
“There’s no reason next year won’t also be a good year,” said Robert Bray, chief executive officer of Bray Real Estate in Grand Junction.
Annette Miller, senior vice president of Heritage Title Co. in Grand Junction, said real estate activity might not be quite as robust. But she still expects an increase. “I don’t see there’s going to be significant changes.”
With two months left to go, the collective dollar volume for real estate sales in Mesa County in 2017 already has topped 2016. Only 58 more transactions are needed in 2017 to exceed 2016, Miller said.
That means 2017 will end up as the best year for real estate since before the recession.
For October, Miller said 482 real estate transactions worth a combined $116 million were reported in Mesa County. Compared to the same month last year, transactions increased 31.3 percent and dollar volume rose 12.6 percent.
Three large transactions were reported in October 2017, Miller said: the sale of an industrial complex on the Riverside Parkway for $3.5 million, the sale of a roadside marketing building and property on 37 3/10 for $1.6 million and the sale of a 28-acre orchard at 36 and E 1/4 roads for $1 million.
The October numbers bring the totals through 10 months of 2017 to 4,535 transactions worth a total of $1.087 billion. Compared to the same span in 2016, transactions rose 16.7 percent and dollar volume increased 19.3 percent.
If that pace continues for two more months, 2017 would end with 5,442 transactions worth more than $1.3 billion. Annual real estate dollar volume in Mesa County peaked at $1.72 billion in 2006, bottomed out at $585 million in 2011 and has increased every year since.
Bray said 3,244 residential real estate transactions worth a combined $788 million were reported in Mesa County through the first 10 months of 2017. Compared to the same span in 2016, transactions rose 14.5 percent and dollar volume increased 20.7 percent.
“The good times continue for residential real estate,” he said. “It just keeps going.”
The median sales price of a residence in Mesa County has climbed 8.5 percent over the past year to $218,500, Bray said. While the median price hasn’t yet matched the high of $225,00 set in 2008, he expects that to occur. “We’ll get there next year.”
The average time on market for a residential listing has dropped 14.7 percent over the past year to 64 days, he said.
Meanwhile, the shrinking inventory of existing homes on the market remains a “challenge,” Bray said. The number of active listings has declined 14.4 percent over the past year to 886.
New home construction has picked up, though, to help supply growing demand, he said. The number of single family building permits issued in Mesa County in October was up 19 percent over the same month last year. The number of permits issued through the first 10 months of 2017 is up 42 percent over the same span in 2016.
Bray said he expects new home construction to continue to increase, although he adds a caveat. He said he’s concerned whether or not there’s enough available lots upon which to build new homes to keep pace.
Meanwhile, property foreclosure activity continues to decline in Mesa County.
Miller said 25 foreclosure filings and 14 foreclosure sales were reported in October. Compared to the same month last year, filings fell 34.2 percent and sales dropped 46.1 percent.
Through the first 10 months of 2017, 324 filings and 233 sales were reported. Compared to the same period in 2016, filings declined 29.9 percent and sales retreated 22.8 percent.
Through the end of October in 2017, the 193 resales of foreclosed properties constituted only 4.2 percent of all transactions. That’s less than half the 10 percent threshold Miller still considers indicative of a healthy real estate market.