Mountain properties: Still a buyer’s market
If peace, quiet, recreation and the outdoors are important factors when determining where you want to live, perhaps it’s time to consider the Mesa or Powderhorn area. While the area isn’t quite as isolated as Glade Park, services are limited and it’s necessary to come down off the mountain for a lot of goods, like gasoline, clothing, household items and extensive groceries.
It’s not necessary, however, to come down off the mountain if you want to look out your window and see fabulous views in multiple directions.
“It’s an incredibly beautiful area to purchase a home,” said Pattijo Pollard with Out West Realty. “Homes are not moving at prices sellers would like to see, but it’s absolutely good news for buyers.”
The area, especially around the community of Mesa, has a lot of land devoted to ranching, and those who already live there want to make sure it remains a small, agricultural community.
Mesa County recently updated the community plan for the area, and planners took note of how residents want to see development occur, especially regarding the rural community area, which establishes how much land can be designated for development.
“One of the biggest things we heard from residents was that it (the rural community area) was too big and the density was too high,” said Kaye Simonson, senior planner with Mesa County. In the previous plan, the allowable density was similar to that allowed by Crested Butte and Telluride.
“Residents aren’t happy with that and wanted to see it change,” Simonson said.
Although county planners cut the rural community area in Mesa from 1,438 acres to 257 acres, that leaves plenty of land available for development, and existing sewer and water services are big enough to handle the growth.
It’s a fine line to balance as the area wants to retain its rural feel but also appreciates a few modern conveniences, like Blink Coffee Shop, which has been selling gourmet coffee, baked items and sandwiches in the community of Mesa since 2007.
“I wish we had a coffee shop like that in Collbran,” said Angie Taylor, a real estate agent who lives in Collbran and sells properties all across Mesa County. “It’s quite up-and-coming for such a tiny little place.”
Although Mesa and Powderhorn are separated by just a few miles, they’re separated by more than miles when it comes to existing real estate, residences and trends. Mesa’s population grew by 36 people between 2000 and 2010 while Powderhorn’s fell by 31. Mesa has an occupancy rate of 82 percent, while Powderhorn’s occupancy is about 18 percent. Both of those are attributed to the the number of vacation and second homes in the Powderhorn area.
Those who sell or own property they’d like to sell in the Powderhorn area hope that the recovering national economy bodes well for vacation properties on Grand Mesa. While the agricultural influence and isolated beauty may not appeal to everyone who may come to Colorado in search of vacation property near a ski resort, locals are convinced it will appeal to some. They’re also confident that those who appreciate it won’t try to change it too much.
“Since Andy Daly bought Powderhorn (ski resort), the area is attracting people from Vail and the Roaring Fork area,” said Rondo Buechelor, long-time resident of Mesa, ski patrol director at Powderhorn and partner at Rapid Creek Cycles in Palisade. “People want to be near a ski area, but want to get out of the circus of Vail.”
Buechelor also owns a couple parcels of land that sit within the boundaries of the Mesa rural community plan. Two small acreage parcels are for sale and another larger parcel is currently in negotiations. Buechelor is a somewhat reluctant land developer, but an ardent community supporter. He purchased the land initially just so he could have a voice in how it would be developed.
“We don’t want high density, we don’t want it over-developed,” Buechelor said. “But we need it developed to pay for infrastructure.”
The population of the area around Mesa and Powderhorn is around 600 human beings. The area is also home to about 30,000 deer and 380 moose. Humans who choose to live in the area have to be willing and eager to share their habitat with the wildlife.
Although the Mesa and Powderhorn areas saw a fair amount of growth, with 88 new structures (which represents a healthy 20 percent of the total building stock) built between 2000 and 2010, only two structures have been built since 2010. New construction has fallen sharply, which often, eventually, leads to an increased demand for housing.
That demand isn’t there yet, which means that it’s still a buyers’ market in this mountain area. If owning a piece of rural Colorado near Grand Mesa has been on your bucket list, this could be the perfect time to do it. Check out available properties on the gallery listings on page XX.