Phil Castle, The Business Times
A combination of higher prices and large commercial transactions has pushed one measure of real estate activity to new heights in Mesa County.
With three months still left in 2021, the dollar volume of real estate sales has reached a record $1.729 billion. That tops the previous peak of $1.72 billion in 2006.
While the pace of transactions has slowed in recent months, dollar volume still could surpass $2 billion by the end of 2021.
“It’s still extremely healthy,” said Annette Young, administrative coordinator at Heritage Title Co. in Grand Junction.
Robert Bray, chief executive officer of Bray Real Estate in Grand Junction, said he’s not surprised given higher home prices and an increase in commercial activity. Meanwhile, a softening in residential activity and increase in inventory offers more and better selection. “It’s good news for buyers.”
Young said 510 transactions worth a total of $205 million were reported in Mesa County in September. Transactions decreased 9.9 percent compared to the same month last year, but dollar volume increased 14.5 percent.
Twenty large transactions accounted for a combined $42 million, Young said. They included the sale of two deeds for the Subaru dealership and service center in Grand Junction for a total of $13.3 million, an industrial property in Fruita for $3.8 million and luxury home on 18 acres in Whitewater for $2.8 million.
Through the first three quarters of 2021, 4,711 transactions worth a total of nearly $1.73 billion were reported. Compared to the same span in 2020, transactions increased 15.6 percent and dollar volume rose 38.7 percent. Just 127 large transactions accounted for a combined $276 million.
If real estate sales continue at the same pace through the fourth quarter, 2021 will conclude with 6,281 transactions worth a total of more than $2.3 billion. Real estate activity peaked in Mesa County with 7,198 transactions in 2005 and $1.72 billion in dollar volume in 2006.
According to numbers Bray Real Estate tracks for the residential market in Mesa County, 341 transactions worth a combined $132 million were reported in September. Compared to the same month last year, transactions retreated 9.3 percent and dollar volume advanced 4.8 percent.
Year-to-date residential activity for 2021 still outpaces 2020. Through September, 3,097 transactions worth a total of more than $1.1 billion were reported. Compared to the same span last year, transactions rose 4.5 percent and dollar volume rose 23.2 percent.
Bray said he suspects some buyers have taken a break in recent months from what previously was a “frenzy” of competition that often included multiple offers above listing prices.
Residential inventories remain below last year, but increased from August to September, the first such gain since 2016. That’s a reflection of more inventory left on the market and an increase in new listings, Bray said.
Still, low supplies and high demand pushed prices higher over the past year. The median price for homes sold through the first three quarters increased 15.1 percent to $328,000.
New home construction lagged in September and for the third quarter with year-over-year declines in single family building permits issued in Mesa County. Bray said builders faced higher prices for materials as well as supply chain issues that slowed activity. However, 727 permits were issued through the first three quarters of 2021, up 26.2 percent from the same span in 2020 and on the way to what Bray expects will be a record year.
Property foreclosure activity continues to decrease. Young said 21 filings and 15 sales were reported during the first three quarters of 2021. That’s down 74 percent and 42.3 percent, respectively, from the same span in 2020.
The seven resales of foreclosed properties in the first three quarters of 2021 constituted less than 1 percent of all real estate transactions, well below the 10 percent threshold Young considers indicative of a healthy market.