Phil Castle, The Business Times
Real estate sales continue to slow on a year-over-year basis in Mesa County as higher prices and mortgage interest rates affect affordability. The local market remains strong overall, however, industry observers say.
“There’s still plentiful buyer demand out there,” said Robert Bray, chief executive officer of Bray & Co. Real Estate based in Grand Junction.
Annette Young, administrative coordinator at Heritage Title Co. in Grand Junction, said she expects a seasonal uptick in coming months. “We’ll still have spring and summer volume.”
Young said 468 real estate transactions worth a total of $197 million were reported in Mesa County in April. Compared to the same month last year, transactions fell 7.1 percent even as dollar volume rose 6.5 percent.
Sixteen large transactions worth a combined $32 million accounted for part of the increase in dollar volume. Those transactions included the sale of a commercial and industrial property for $9 million, an industrial and manufacturing property for $2.7 million and 345-acre mountain ranch for more than $2.3 million.
Through the first four months of 2022, 1,675 transactions worth a collective $703 million were reported. Compared to the same span in 2021, transactions retreated 8.8 percent and dollar volume advanced 12.8 percent.
While April sales numbers were below those for 2021, they exceeded 2020 as well as the five-year average, Young said.
Higher prices and mortgage interest rates make homes less affordable and slow sales, although Young said spring and summer volume should remain strong.
According to numbers Bray & Co. tracks for the residential market, 296 transactions worth a total of nearly $126 million were reported in April. Compared to the same month last year, transactions dropped 15.4 percent and dollar volume edged up eight-tenths of a percent.
Through the first four months of 2022, 1,076 sales worth a total of nearly $445.5 million were reported. Compared to the same span in 2021, transactions fell 13.6 percent and dollar volume rose 3.5 percent.
Bray said higher interest rates have exerted a growing influence on the market. Rates have climbed about 2 percent over the past year to 4.75 percent on 15-year mortgages and 5.25 percent on 30-year mortgages. Rates still remain low on an historical basis, however, he said.
Home prices continue to rise. The medium price of homes sold through the first four months of 2022 rose 20.2 percent to $375,000 compared to the same span in 2021.
As sales have slowed, inventories have increased, Bray said. At the end of April, there were 266 active residential listings. That’s up 100 and 60.2 percent from the same time last year. More homes typically come on the market in the spring and summer. Additional selection should spur sales, he said.
With persistent demand, Bray said the market remains healthy. “I don’t see anything that’s necessarily alarming.”
Meanwhile, property foreclosure activity continues to increase.
Young said 104 foreclosure filings and seven sales were reported in Mesa County during the first four months of 2022. For the same span in 2021, there were six filings and 11 sales.
Young said she expects filings to increase following the end of a moratorium imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. But a lot of those foreclosures will be withdrawn because many property owners have equity and will sell beforehand.
The four resales of foreclosed properties during the first four months of 2022 constituted less than 1 percent of all transactions, below the 10 percent threshold Young considers indicative of a healthy market.