Pace of real estate activity picking up in Mesa County

Annette Miller
Annette Miller
Ben Hill
Ben Hill

Phil Castle, The Business Times

After a slow start to the new year, the pace of real estate activity in Mesa County has picked up.

That bodes well for the coming year, said Annette Miller, senior vice president at Heritage Title Co. in Grand Junction and a long-time observer of the local real estate market. “I think we’re going to move forward for a good 2015. It should be a good year,” Miller said.

Ben Hill, a broker who operates Hill & Homes in Grand Junction, agreed. “I think it’s going to hold steady, and a little bit of improvement here.”

Miller said 237 real estate transactions worth a combined $46.6 million were reported in Mesa County during February. Compared to the same month last year, transactions increased 11.6 percent, although dollar volume decreased 5 percent.

There was just one large transaction during February 2015, Miller said, the sale of the building housing the Carl’s Jr. franchise at 2468 U.S. Highway 6 & 50 for $1.1 million to United States Beef Corp.

By comparison, there were five large transactions worth a collective $10.2 million in February 2014.

For the first two months of 2014, 412 transactions worth a total of $94 million have been reported in Mesa County, Miller said. Compared to the same span in 2014, transactions rose 3 percent and dollar volume climbed 9 percent.

Miller said she expects 2015 to at least match 2014 for real estate sales and perhaps fare better. “We’re expecting it to be really close to last year and maybe pick up a little.”

Hill said he expects continued improvement in the real estate market even as the local economy stabilizes.

For all of 2014, 3,653 sales worth a collective $809 million were reported. Year-end totals were the highest since 2008, although far lower than what was a more robust market at that time.

Rising home prices offer another indication of improving conditions in the residential market.

Grand Junction home prices increased 7.6 percent between January 2014 and January 2015, according to the latest results of a monthly analysis by CoreLogic, a California-based firm. That increase takes into account such so-called distressed sales as foreclosure auctions and short sales. Excluding distressed sales, home prices increased 5.7 percent between January 2014 and January 2015, the company reported.

Meanwhile, property foreclosure activity continues to decrease.

Miller said 36 property foreclosure filings and 17 foreclosure sales were reported in Mesa County during February. Compared to the same month last year, filings fell 22.2 percent and sales tumbled 205 percent.

Through the first two months of 2015, sales of foreclosed properties represented 15 percent of all transactions, Miller said.