Real estate update: Residential sales slow, but dollar volume up

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Robert Bray

Robert Bray believes a slight pause in residential real estate sales in Mesa County in August could bode well for subsequent activity by replenishing low inventories.

“It’s an encouraging time for buyers,” said Bray, chief executive officer of Bray Real Estate in Grand Junction.

Meanwhile, increased commercial sales and higher prices have pushed year-over-year gains in dollar volume in Mesa County to their highest levels in 16 years, said Annette Miller, administrative coordinator at Heritage Title Co. in Grand Junction.

Annette Miller

Miller said 544 real estate transactions worth a total of $221 million were reported in Mesa County in August. That’s only two more transactions than the same month last year, but $63 million more in dollar volume.

Just 25 transactions accounted for a combined $48 million, Miller said. They included the sale of the 1,720-acre Grove Creek Ranch in the Collbran area for $6.3 million, a strip mall on Horizon Drive in Grand Junction for $3.3 million and a commercial truck center in Fruita for $2.8 million.

Through August, 4,201 transactions worth a total of more than $1.5 billion were reported in 2021. Compared to the same span last year, transactions increased 19.7 percent and dollar volume rose 42.8 percent.

The proportional gain in dollar volume was the largest since a 25.6 percent increase in year-end dollar volume from 2004 to 2005 and the midst of a natural gas development boom in Western Colorado, Miller said. “We’ve got quite a bit of commercial and also price appreciation driving that.”

If the current pace of sales continues, 2021 would end with 6,301 transactions worth a total of nearly 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, 318 transactions worth a total of $122 million were reported in August. Compared to the same month last year, transactions decreased 19.1 percent and dollar volume declined 9 percent.

“Buyers were taking a little pause,” Bray said. Some were likely discouraged by low inventories and competition for those homes on the market, he said.

Year-to-date residential activity in 2021 outpaces 2020, however. Through August, 2,740 transactions worth a combined $994 million were reported. Compared to the same span last year, transactions increased 5.9 percent and dollar volume rose 25.2 percent.

At the end of August, there were 400 active listings. That’s a decrease of 7.2 percent from the same time last year. However, more than 400 new listings have come onto the market in each of the last four months. 

Bray said he expects inventories to rebuild and offer more selections to buyers.

At the same time, new construction has increased. Through August, 672 building permits for single family homes were issued in Mesa County in 2021. That’s an increase of 35.7 percent over the same span last year. 

Low supplies and high demand push prices upward. The median price of homes sold during the first eight months of 2021 increased 16.1 percent to $325,000 compared to the same span in 2020.

Bray said the market remains strong. “It’ll still be a good year in real estate.”

Meanwhile, property foreclosure activity continues to decrease. Miller said 19 foreclosure filings and 13 sales were reported during the first eight months of 2021. That’s down 75.3 percent and
43.5 percent, respectively from the same span in 2020. The seven resales of foreclosed properties were a fraction of all transactions and the 10 percent threshold Miller considers indicative of a healthy market.