Real estate activity picks up in January

Annette Miller
Annette Miller

Real estate activity in Mesa County increased in January compared to the same month last year, a gain those working in the industry consider a hopeful start to 2011.

“It was a nice thing to see it go up,” said Annette Miller, senior vice president of Heritage Title Co. in Grand Junction.

According to figures reported by Miller, 195 real estate transactions occurred in Mesa County in January. That’s a nearly 37 percent increase over the 147 transactions reported in January 2010. The combined dollar volume of January 2011 transactions totalled $42.5 million, Miller said. That’s a 2 percent increase over the $41.6 million worth of transactions reported in January 2010.

Miller attributed part of the January 2011 gain to increased activity in November and December. Transactions that went under contract in those months closed in January, she said.

For December, 236 sales worth a collective $53.3 million were reported, Miller said.

For all of 2010, 2,518 transactions worth a combined $581 million were reported, according to year-end statistics compiled by Bob Reece, president of Advanced Title Co. in Grand Junction. Those totals fell below 2009 and were comparable to 1986, the first year of recovery following the oil shale bust in Western Colorado.

Miller said it’s too early to tell whether or not the Mesa County real estate market will recover in 2011. The growing number of property foreclosures have brought down prices, she said.

But at the same time, improving consumer confidence in economic recovery should help, Miller said. “It’s definitely going to play a role.”

Joe Reed, a spokesman for the Grand Junction Area Realtors Association, said he’s encouraged the stronger numbers in January portend increasing real estate activity in 2011. “I think it makes all of us optimistic in this industry.”

Lower prices offer attractive deals to homebuyers and lenders are extending financing to those who qualify, Reed said.