Mesa County real estate sales accelerate

Phil Castle, The Business Times

No longer slowed by restrictions imposed at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, real estate sales have accelerated in Mesa County.

Robert Bray

And if the trend continues in the fourth quarter, transactions and dollar volume for  2020 likely will top 2019.

That would make for a good year — and maybe more — for the local market, said Robert Bray, chief executive officer of Bray Real Estate in Grand Junction. “I think it’s going to be better than good.”

Annette Miller, senior vice president of Heritage Title Co. in Grand Junction, also said she expects a strong rebound after slowing in April and May related to the pandemic. “Life got pushed back a bit.”

Annette Miller

Miller said 566 real estate transactions worth a combined $179 million were reported in Mesa County in September. Compared to the same month last year, transactions increased 22.2 percent and dollar volume jumped 35.6 percent.

Eight transactions accounted for a total of $11.4 million, Miller said, including the sale of the EconoLodge on Horizon Drive for $1.8 million, a commercial building on 23 2/10 Road for nearly $1.7 million and a shop and office building on Logos Court for $1.65 million.

With the latest gains, year-to-date real estate sales in 2020 have caught up to 2019. Through the first three quarters of 2020, 4,075 transactions worth a total of nearly $1.25 billion. Compared to the same span in 2019, transactions are three-tenths of a percent lower and dollar volume 2 percent higher.

Miller said real estate activity that didn’t occur during the onset of the pandemic earlier this year when showings and open houses were prohibited was pushed back and since has shown up in sales statistics. 

Given the number of real estate closings that have been scheduled, Miller expects increasing activity for October as well. “The pipeline has filled well.”

According to numbers tracked by Bray Real Estate, 345 residential real estate transactions worth a total of $117 million were reported in September. Compared to the same month last year, transactions edged up 2.4 percent and dollar volume rose 15.8 percent.

Through the first three quarters of 2020, 2,921 residential transactions worth a total of $908 million were reported. Compared to the same span in 2019, transactions were down 2 percent even as dollar volume rose 6.9 percent.

Bray said demand for housing among residents has remained strong, but was postponed during the onset of the pandemic. 

At the same time, demand has increased from homebuyers outside the area looking to relocate from urban to more rural areas. Bray said he expects increased interest for at least the next year to two years. “Grand Junction has shown up on the radar.”

Inventories of existing homes remain low, Bray said. At the end of September, there were 406 active residential listings in Mesa County. That’s down 48 percent from the same last year.

Increased demand and low supplies pushed the median price of homes sold in September to $305,000, up 16.4 percent from a year ago. The median price for residential real sales year to date was lower at $285,000, but still up 12.2 percent from a year ago.

New home construction has picked up, Bray said. For September, 81 building permits for single family homes were issued in Mesa County, up 28.6 percent from the same month a year ago. Through the first three quarters of 2020, 576 building permits were issued. That’s up 3.6 percent from the same span in 2019.

Property foreclosure activity continues to slow, Miller said. The 26 resales of foreclosed properties during the first three quarters of 2020 were less than 1 percent of all transactions and well below the 10 percent threshold she considers indicative of a healthy real estate market.