Mesa County real estate gains continue

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Real estate activity continued to accelerate in Mesa County during October with year-over-year gains in the number and dollar volume of transactions.

Annette Miller
Annette Miller

“That was definitely a nice October in many ways,” said Annette Miller, senior vice president at Heritage Title Co. in Grand Junction and a long-time observer of the local real estate market.

While activity is expected to slow heading into the holidays, 2015 will top 2014. Although growth could moderate, the trend should continue into 2016, said Robert Bray, chief executive officer of Bray Real Estate in Grand Junction.

Miller said 352 real estate transactions worth a total of $76 million were reported in Mesa County in October. Compared to the same month last year, transactions rose 3.8 percent and dollar volume increased 6.4 percent.

Several large commercial deals once again bolstered dollar volume with the sale of a building at Village Park on 28 1/4 Road in Grand Junction for $2.1 million and the sale of a church at the intersection of Fourth Street and Grand Avenue for $1.5 million. Four transactions accounted for a combined $6 million in dollar volume in October, Miller said.

Robert Bray
Robert Bray

Through the first 10 months of this year, 3,402 real estate transactions worth a collective $814 million were reported in Mesa County, Miller said. Compared to the same span last year, transactions were up 11 percent and dollar volume 19.2 percent.

Large deals accounted for about half the difference in the dollar volume, she said. Through the first 10 months of 2015, there were  35 transactions worth more than $1 million with a total value of $128 million. There also were 35 transactions for $1 million or more reported for the same period in 2014, but with a combined value of $67.3 million.

At the current pace of real estate activity, 2015 will end with  4,082 transactions worth a total of nearly $977 million. Those levels would constitute an 11.7 percent increase in transactions and a nearly 20.8 percent increase in dollar volume over 2014.

Miller said real estate activity typically slows in November and December with the holidays and what’s usually more inclement winter weather. But she expects year-end numbers for 2015 to top 2014.

Overall market conditions are good, she said. “It’s slow and it’s steady and it’s growth.”

While a long-expected increase in mortgage interest rates and presidential election could affect the market in 2016, Miller said she expects activity to hold steady.

Bray also expects seasonal slowing in real estate activity in November and December, but that 2015 will top 2014 with a 7 percent  to 9 percent increase in transactions and 12 percent to 15 percent increase in dollar volume.

While the pace of growth might slow in 2016, Bray said he expects continued growth in the Mesa County real estate market nonetheless.

In the process, the median price point of single-family homes continues to move up, Bray said. While there’s been a lag this year, residential construction should pick up next year, he added.

Meanwhile, property foreclosure activity continues to slow in Mesa County.

Miller said 34 foreclosure filings and 21 foreclosure sales were reported in Mesa County during October. Compared to the same month last year, filings dropped 38.1 percent and sales fell 19.2 percent.

Through the first 10 months of 2015, 398 filings and 251 sales were reported, Miller said. Compared to the same span in 2014, filings retreated 13.5 percent and sales declined 30.3 percent.

The resale of 234 foreclosed properties constituted 7 percent of all transactions reported year to date in 2015, less than the 10 percent threshold Miller considers indicative of a healthy real estate market.