Mesa County real estate activity “holding really strong”

Annette Miller
Annette Miller
Robert Bray
Robert Bray

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Real estate activity continues to increase in Mesa County en route to what industry observers expect will be the best year yet for a recovery that began in 2012.

“I’m pleased and a little surprised, but it marches on,” 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, agreed. “It’s still holding really strong.”

Miller said 510 real estate transactions worth a combined $126 million were reported in Mesa County during August. Compared to the same month last year, transactions increased 4.7 percent and dollar volume rose 11.5 percent.

Three large transactions in Grand Junction worth a total of nearly $13 million bolstered dollar volume, Miller said, including the sale of a shipping center on 23 Road for $6.8 million, the sale of a mortuary on Patterson Road for $3.95 million and the sale of  an office building on 28 1/4 Road for $2.2 million.

The latest numbers bring year-to-date totals for 2017 to 3,577 transactions worth a combined $853 million. Compared to the same span in 2016, transactions were up 14.5 percent and dollar volume was up 18.8 percent.

If the current pace of real estate activity were to continue four more months, the year would end with nearly 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 then.

Miller said other indicators also reflect improving economic conditions in Mesa County, including higher tax collections and lower unemployment rates. That means increased real estate activity isn’t an anomaly, she said. “It makes sense. It’s logical growth.”

Bray said 2,526 residential real estate transactions worth a total of $610 million were reported in Mesa County through August of this year. Compared to the same span last year, transactions were up 12.4 percent and dollar volume was up 18.2 percent.

The medium price of residential transactions so far this year has climbed to $216,000. That’s up 8 percent from last year, yet still below the peak level of $225,000 in 2008, Bray said.

According to the latest information from CoreLogic, a research firm based in California, home prices rose 6.3 percent in Grand Junction between July 2016 and July 2017.

While the inventory of existing homes for sale remains tight, new home construction has helped in supplying demand, Bray said. The number of single family building permits issued in Mesa County in August was up 73 percent from the same month last year. The number of permit issued through August in 2017 was up 45 percent over 2016.

While the market could experience some seasonal slowing toward the end of the year, Bray said he expects 2017 to finish as the best year yet in the real estate recovery. “There continues to be good news in the marketplace.”

Meanwhile, property foreclosure activity continues to decline.

Miller said 32 foreclosure filings and 27 foreclosure sales were reported in Mesa County during August. Compared to the same month last year, filings were down 36 percent and sales down 18.2 percent.

Year to date, 271 filings and 197 sales were reported. Compared to the same span in 2016, filings fell 27.5 percent and sales declined 20.2 percent.

So far in 2017, the 156 resales of foreclosed properties represented 4.4 percent of all transactions, less than half the 10 percent threshold Miller considers indicative of a healthy market.