Phil Castle, The Business Times
Heading into the busy summer season, the Mesa County real estate market remains as hot as the weather.
But even with the pace of new home construction at its highest level in a decade, low housing inventories could create a chilling effect.
Robert Bray, chief executive officer of Bray Real Estate in Grand Junction, said the two trends are significant. “It continues to amaze and excite me about the activity going on. It’s a stronger market than I thought it would be.”
The problem, Bray said: “We need more inventory.”
Annette Miller, senior vice president of Heritage Title Co. in Grand Junction, said she expects year-over-year gains in sales and dollar volume to continue. “We’ll keep staying in the positive.”
Miller said 587 real estate transactions worth a total of $152 million were reported in Mesa County in May. Compared to the same month last year, transactions rose 4.1 percent and dollar volume jumped 16 percent.
Several large transactions were reported, Miller said, including the sale of property at 680 24 1/2 Road in Grand Junction for $1.84 million, the sale of the Life Community Church at
2140 Broadway for $1.8 million and the sale of the Dairy Queen at 589 Kokopelli Blvd in Fruita for $1.5 million.
Through the first five months of 2018, 2,290 transactions worth a combined $583 million were reported, Miller said. Compared to the same span in 2017, transactions rose 17.2 percent and dollar volume increased 26.7 percent.
If the current pace of activity were to continue through 2018, the year would end with 5,496 transactions worth a combined $1.4 billion. The Mesa County real estate market peaked in 2005 in terms of the 7,198 transactions that year and in 2006 in terms of the $1.7 billion in dollar volume.
May and June are historically the most active months of the year for real estate sales, Miller said, although year-over-year proportional gains could be smaller this year because of larger increases earlier. “We really started the year with a bang.”
Bray said 1,570 residential real estate transactions worth a collective $$407 million were reported in Mesa County through the first five months of 2018. Compared to the same span in 2017, residential sales rose 10 percent and dollar volume increased 19 percent.
The median sales price of residential properties during the first five months of 2018 rose 8.9 percent to $235,000 and remains above the previous peak for Mesa County, Bray said. The average time on the market for listings shortened 17.1 percent to 58 days.
The inventory of existing homes on the market remains as low as Bray said he can remember. The 807 active listings at the end of May constituted only a two-month supply at the current pace of sales. There was only a one-month supply for homes priced below $300,000. Low inventories, especially in the more affordable price ranges, remains a problem, he said.
The pace of new home construction continues to increase, though. Through the first five months of 2018, 363 building permits for single family homes were issued in Mesa County. That’s a 36 percent increase over 2017 and the highest number for that period since 2008.
While the pace of sales could slow, Miller said she expects year-end totals for 2018 to top 2017 and potentially rank among the top three years ever for the market.
Bray agreed: “The good times continue.”
Meanwhile, property foreclosure activity continues to slow.
For the first five months of 2018, 123 foreclosure filings and 76 foreclosure sales were reported, Miller said. Compared to the same span in 2017, filings dropped 30.9 percent and sales declined 41.1 percent. The 43 resales of foreclosed properties during the first five months of 2018 constituted just 2 percent of all transactions.