Grand Junction home sales rise, prices fall in October

More homes were sold in Grand Junction in October than during any other month this year.

The Grand Junction area saw 186 home sales in October, up from 155 in September.

The renewal of the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit and the introduction of a $6,500 tax credit for people that have owned their homes for at least five years helped boost sales last month, said Ben Hill, a Realtor and co-owner of Hill & Homes Real Estate, 1204 N. Seventh St.

“I think it’s the tax credit really making (the local real estate market) work,” Hill said.

Low interest rates also helped sales, Hill said, but he noted other indicators, such as job-loss figures and increased demand for Toys for Tots donations, show the real estate market isn’t entirely ready to stand on its own.

The prices of the homes sold also were lower. The median price of a home sold in Grand Junction in October was $196,129, according to the Colorado Association of Realtors. That’s the first time the local median price dipped below $200,000 since February 2007.

Dave Woodward, a Realtor with United Country RealQuest Realty, 2470 Patterson Road, Unit 1, said some homes that have struggled on the market at a higher price finally lowered their asking price after months on the market. Other sales in October were priced “correctly” by a Realtor, he said.

“The stuff that’s moving in the market is under the $200,000 range,” Woodward said. “We’ve been in the $300,000 range so long” that some homeowners may have guessed too high with their original sale price.

Woodward said he’s looking forward to December, when relatives will come to see family in Grand Junction, and others may take holiday vacations here and decide to stay.

“They can be some of the best buyers,” he said of out-of-town holiday visitors.

Housing numbers looked better across Colorado last month compared with September. The state experienced a 2 percent drop this October, compared with October 2008 in both homes sold and home price. Meanwhile, September 2009 home sales were down 11 percent from September 2008, and median home prices were down 15 percent.

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