Last call for the Grand Valley Open House Weekend
Long after the national economy began to tank, the economy in the Grand Valley was still chugging along, oblivious to job losses in the manufacturing sector and the mortgage meltdown in California.
At that time, there was hope that the recession would bypass the Western Slope.
Unfortunately, it didn’t, and the Grand Valley is now experiencing higher unemployment and a sluggish real estate market, making it out of step with the national economy once again.
“Nationally, we’re seeing a lot more activity, prices have stabilized and are even going up,” says Rick Hamm with Unifirst Mortgage. “Generally, we lag anywhere from nine to 18 months behind. We simply don’t know if that’s the case this time.”
Whether the market will turn next week or next year is anybody’s guess, but it’s not mere speculation to say that the current market offers buyers an amazing opportunity.
Interest rates are low, prices are lower than they’ve been in years, qualified buyers are eligible for a tax credit on properties with contracts signed before April 30 and there’s plenty of available housing from which to choose.
Even better, the Grand Valley Open House weekend, which ends Sunday, April 11, is offering buyers a chance to peruse, look, gawk and dream. Even if your budget tells you to stay under $225,000, it doesn’t hurt to go look at that house for $400,000, especially since it’s open for viewing, you don’t need an appointment and you’re already out looking at homes in the area.
“With a larger exposure, agents feel like it’s a good opportunity for buyers to see a lot of inventory in a short amount of time,” says Jen Pedersen with Metro Brokers.
Because agents can decide up until the minute they stick an open house sign in front of a property whether or not to open the home to visitors, it’s difficult to say how many more available homes will be open this weekend compared to a typical spring weekend. However, during last fall’s Grand Valley Open House Weekend held in September, there were more than 100 homes to tour.
“We’ve been really pushing it,” says Megan Cook, marketing director with Bray and Company. “Agents are seeing positive things come out of open houses. I’m hoping it will be our biggest open house activity this year.”
There is an amazing variety in the open houses this year; there are townhomes and starter homes in many areas.
There are also move up and move around homes, including several dream homes that are always fun to tour even if the bottom line is a bit too steep.
Historic homes, brand new homes, homes that remain firmly in the 1980s; they’re all part of the open house experience.
If owning a small acreage property has been one of your dreams, then head west of town to Loma, Mack or Fruita. Or drive east and check out the property in Clifton, the horse property perched on Purdy Mesa or the huge home above the orchards in Palisade.
Land prices have fallen in the last few years and small acreage properties are more affordable and available than at any time in the Grand Valley’s recent history.
Locally, some real estate professionals think the activity has been increasing, which could mean the market has bottomed out. It could also be a sign that buyers are aware of the April 30 deadline to sign a contract to qualify for tax credits.
“Usually, people come out in April and May,” explains John Huff with Coldwell Banker. “The tax credit brought them out in February and March.”
According to Huff, Coldwell Banker saw a 53 percent increase in the amount of properties that went under contract in March 2010 compared to March 2009.
Perhaps it’s a sign that better times are right around the corner. If that’s true, then now is the time to buy low, and there is no more convenient way to see what’s available in every price and every area than to tour the homes on display through the Grand Valley Open House Weekend.