Mesa County real estate activity brisk

Robert Bray
Robert Bray
Annette Miller
Annette Miller

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Real estate activity continues to increase in Mesa County with double-digit proportional gains in transactions and dollar volume.

Prices continue to increase as well, along with new home construction.

“The good times continue. They really do,” said Robert Bray, chief executive officer of Bray Real Estate in Grand Junction.

While there could be some seasonal slowing during the fourth quarter, year-end numbers likely will finish ahead of 2016, said Annette Miller, senior vice president of Heritage Title Co. in Grand Junction. “We’ll definitely be there.”

Miller said 474 real estate sales worth a total of $118 million were reported in Mesa County during September. Compared to the same month last year, transactions increased 19.7 percent and dollar volume rose 32.6 percent.

There were three large sales, Miller said, including 400 acres of agricultural land near 18 and O roads for $3.83 million, a shopping complex adjacent to the Safeway on Horizon Drive in Grand Junction for $2.4 million and a restaurant building at 707 Horizon Drive for $1.4 million. Still, those numbers didn’t skew the overall gain in dollar volume, she said.

The September numbers bring the totals through three quarters of 2017 to 4,053 transactions worth a collective $971 million, Miller said. Compared to the same span in 2016, transactions rose 15.2 percent and dollar volume increased 20.3 percent.

If that pace continues in the fourth quarter, 2017 will finish with 5,400 transactions worth a total of nearly $1.3 billion. Annual real estate dollar volume peaked in Mesa County at $1.72 billion in 2006, bottomed out in the aftermath of the Great Recession at $585 million in 2011 and has increased every year since.

Bray said 2,910 residential real estate transactions worth a combined $706 million were reported in Mesa County through the first three quarters of 2017. Compared to the same span in 2016, transactions increased 12.9 percent and dollar volume rose 19.3 percent.

The median sales price of residential transactions has increased 9 percent to $218,000, he said.

According to the latest information from CoreLogic, a research firm based in California, Grand Junction home prices rose 1.1 percent from July to August and 7.5 percent from August 2016 to August 2017.

While the inventory of existing homes for sale remains tight, new home construction has helped in meeting increasing demand, Bray said. The number of single family home building permits issued in Mesa County in September was up 54 percent over the same month last year. The number of permits issued through the first three quarters of 2017 is up 46 percent compared to the same span in 2016, he said.

While people moving to Mesa County account for some of the increased real estate activity, Bray attributes most of the gains to residents who’re feeling more confident about the economy and  jobs.

Miller said Mesa County has lagged behind other areas of Colorado in rebounding from the recession, but the local real estate market is now beginning to catch up.

Bray and Miller expect the trend to continue.

“It’s just a very good housing market. I see nothing in the way heading into the next year,” Bray said.

Meanwhile, property foreclosure activity continues to decline.

Miller said 28 foreclosure filings and 22 foreclosure sales were reported in Mesa County in September. Compared to the same month last year, filings dropped 44 percent and sales fell 24.1 percent.

Through three quarters of 2017, 299 filings and 219 sales were reported, Miller said. Compared to the same span in 2016, filings retreated 29.5 percent and sales decreased 20.7 percent.

So far in 2017, the 171 resales of foreclosed properties constituted 4.2 percent of all transactions, less than half the 10 percent threshold Miller considers indicative of a healthy market.