Mesa County real estate market holds steady

Annette Miller
Annette Miller
Lynn Gillespie
Lynn Gillespie

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Annette Miller most often uses the word steady to describe the real estate market in Mesa County.

While the number of transactions lags slightly behind last year, the combined dollar volume of those deals slightly outpaces last year. Meanwhile, the property foreclosure activity that tends to pull down prices has slowed.

Although the market has yet to return to the more robust activity before the recession, it’s showing signs of resilience, said Miller, senior vice president of Heritage Title Co. in Grand Junction. “There’s something about steady that’s reassuring.”

Lynn Gillespie, a real estate agent with RE/MAX Two Rivers Realty who serves as chairwoman of the Grand Junction Area Realtor Association, described the market as “stable.” But she she said she’s encouraged by a number of trends, among them an increase in residential construction. “That is just a huge positive.”

Miller said 314 real estate transactions worth a collective $71.3 million were reported in Mesa County during September.

Five large transactions worth a total of $10 million bolstered the dollar volume, including the sale of ranch land near DeBeque for $4.4 million, Miller said.

Compared to the same month last year, transactions slipped 1.2 percent, but the dollar volume jumped 11.6 percent, Miller said.

The latest numbers bring real estate sales through the first three quarters of 2014 to 2,725 transactions worth a combined $611 million, Miller said. Compared to the same span last year, transactions lag 1.8 percent, but dollar volume has increased 5.3 percent.

For all of 2013, 3,589 sales worth a total of $769.6 million were reported.

A number of factors have contributed to the increased dollar volume, Miller said, including an increase in the number of large transactions as well as slightly higher home prices. Moreover, there’s been a decrease in the sales of foreclosed properties, which usually result in lower prices.

Miller said 45 foreclosure filings and 30 foreclosure sales were reported in Mesa County in September. That’s a drop of nearly 36 percent and 25 percent, respectively, over the same month last year.

Through the first three quarters of 2014, 405 foreclosure filings and 334 foreclosure sales were reported, she said. Compared to the same span in 2013, filings have declined 31.5 percent and sales 28.5 percent.

The sales of foreclosed properties through the third quarter of 2014 constituted only 12 percent of all transactions, Miller said. That’s down from 19 percent through the third quarter of 2013.

Gillespie said homes in the lower price ranges tend to sell more quickly, leaving lower inventory levels. Low interest rates on mortgages remain attractive, and more sellers generally have been encouraged to bring their homes to market, she added. “Sellers feel a little more confidence.”

Gillespie said she’s been especially encouraged by an increase in residential construction, which tends to have a domino effect in creating more jobs and sales in the local economy. “It creates an overall more positive outlook.”