Real estate sales constitute “good start” for 2016

Annette Miller
Annette Miller

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Through the first two months of 2016, the new year is off to what industry observers expect will be another good year for the real estate market in Mesa County.

“I think we’re on track,” said Annette Miller, senior vice president of Heritage Title Co. in Grand Junction.

Still, an increase in property foreclosure activity, low home inventories and uncertainty during a presidential election year could affect the local market, Miller added. “Those are all things to watch.”

Miller said 233 real estate transactions worth a total of $59 million were reported in Mesa County during February. Compared to the same month last year, transactions slipped 1.7 percent. But dollar volume jumped nearly 27 percent as just five transactions accounted for a total of $14.6 million, Miller said.

The building housing the Best Buy outlet in Grand Junction sold for $7.37 million to BlueRoad Net Lease of Chicago, Miller said. A residence sold for $1.5 million, while the other large transactions involved commercial and agricultural properties, she said.

For the first two months of 2016, 454 transactions worth a collective $104.5 million were reported in Mesa County, Miler said. Compared to the same span in 2015, transactions rose 10.2 percent and dollar volume was up 11.2 percent.

For all of 2015, a total of 4,060 transactions worth a collective $984 million were reported, Miller said. Those were the highest numbers for Mesa County since 2008, when 4,459 transactions worth a combined $1.3 billion were reported.

Miller said she expects real estate activity to continue to trend upward in 2016, but there other market indicators to watch, among them property foreclosure activity and home inventory levels.

For February, 40 foreclosure filings and 29 foreclosure sales were reported in Mesa County, Miller said. Both those numbers are higher than the 36 filings and 17 sales reported for the same month last year, she said.

So far for 2016, 93 filings and 63 sales were reported. During the same span in 2015, there were 53 filings and 51 sales, Miller said.

One reason there are more filings is that some lenders might have delayed foreclosures until after the holidays last year, but didn’t do so this year, Miller said.

Overall, though, foreclosure activity remains low, she said. The proportion of foreclosure sales to total real estate transactions so far in 2016 remains below the 10 percent threshold Miller considers indicative of a healthy market.

Low housing inventories could slow market growth, although more homes usually come onto the market during the spring and summer, Miller said. The uncertainty of a presidential election in the United States and even global events also can affect the local market, she said.

The outlook so far remains upbeat, Miller. “It looks like we’ve got a good start for 2016.”