Mesa County real estate market firing on all cylinders

Annette Miller
Annette Miller
Robert Bray
Robert Bray

Phil Castle, The Business Times

The Mesa County real estate market appears to be firing on all cylinders with year-to-date gains in sales, dollar volume, inventories, prices and new home construction.

In fact, the market is the midst of its best year since the recession, 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 feels good. It’s comfortable.”

Miller said 367 real estate transactions worth a total of $103 million were reported in Mesa County in October. Compared to the same month last year, transactions increased 4.3 percent, while dollar volume jumped 35.5 percent.

Miller attributed the large gain in dollar volume in part to the sale of the Candlewood mobile home parks in Clifton for $20 million. The two parks, located near 32 and D Roads, include a total of more than 400 mobile home lots.

The latest numbers bring real estate activity in Mesa County through the first 10 months of 2016 to 3,886 transactions worth a collective $911 million, Miller said. Compared to the same span in 2015, transactions increased 14.2 percent and dollar volume rose 11.9 percent.

While the sale of the mobile home parks skewed the numbers for October, the combined dollar volume of transactions over $1 million so far in 2016 actually has been less than 2015, Miller said. Through the first 10 months of 2016, 29 transactions were worth in $74 million. During the same span in 2015, 35 transactions were worth a total of $128 million. That included the sale of the Mesa View and Atrium retirement communities for a total of $45 million.

The year-to-date totals bring the market closer to exceeding year-end numbers for 2015, when 4,060 transactions worth a combined $984 million were reported. The year-end numbers for 2015 were the highest for Mesa County since 2008. The market last peaked in 2006, and bottomed out in 2011.

Bray said the number of residential real estate transactions in Mesa County has increased 9 percent year to date, with a 16 percent increase in dollar volume to $644 million.

The median price of homes sold through the first 10 months of 2016 increased to $201,500, Bray said. That’s still below the peak price of $225,000 in 2008, but 6 percent higher than this time last year.

Active residential listings have nearly kept pace with increased sales with a 7 percent gain year to date, he said. Higher prices have enabled homebuyers who previously owed more on mortgages than their properties were worth to bring their homes to market and break even or pull some equity out, he added.

New home construction will add to the inventory with a 7 percent increase year to date in the number of single family building permits issued in Mesa County, Bray said.

Property foreclosure activity also continues to increase in Mesa County, but not so much as to substantially affect the market, Miller said.

For October, 38 foreclosure filings and 26 foreclosure sales were reported, Miller said. That was a 10.5 percent increase in filings and 23.8 percent increase in sales over the same month last year.

Through the first 10 months of 2016, 462 filings and 302 sales were reported. Compared to the same span in 2015, filings  increased 16 percent and sales rose 20.3 percent.

Still, the 212 resales of foreclosured properties during the first 10 months of 2016 constituted only 5 percent of all transactions, Miller said. That’s half the 10 percent threshold she considers indicative of a healthy market.