Trying to buy a house in Mesa County is looking more and more like a competitive eBay auction.

The median price for a home in Mesa County sold in June was $325,000, compared to $320,000 in May, $315,000 in April and $272,000 in June 2020, according to Bray Real Estate’s residential real estate report for June.

A total of 1,995 residential properties were sold in Mesa County in 2021 through June.

The Wall Street Journal recently ranked Grand Junction 39th out of 300 cities in the U.S. and second in Colorado in its emerging housing markets index, which ranked cities based on expected return on investment for houses as well as quality of life.

Homes were on the market for less time in June, spending an average of 46 days on the market, compared to 47 days in May, 48 days in April and 60 days in June 2020.

The market is showing evidence of increased competition for houses, the effects of which aren’t just being felt by buyers.

“When people don’t see an adequate supply for purchase they stay in the rental market,” Grand Junction Housing Authority CEO Jody Kole said.

With people who would otherwise be looking to buy continuing to rent instead, demand for rentals increases, which drives up rent prices, Kole said.

Kole said rent prices have increased such that the Housing Authority has seen families with vouchers for housing unable to support a rental that fits their family size.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, a landlord might get 10 applications for an apartment, Kole said. “Now they’re getting 100.”

More than 2,400 people are currently on the housing authority’s waitlist, Kole said.

“There is a significant demand for additional affordable housing in the Grand Valley,” Kole said.

There isn’t one solution to that problem, according to Kole, but the city of Grand Junction’s Housing Needs Assessment, published in June, could bring stakeholders to the table to help find solutions.

More housing stock is on the way, according to the report, with building permits up 51% compared to this time last year.

For those who are still trying to move from renting into buying, they have to compete with a lot of offers, so they need to be prepared.

“You need to have your credit and finances in order before you go house hunting because you need to move quickly in many instances,” she said.

For renters, Kole said there are some resources available to them to find housing, and when they do find housing they should hold on to it.

“Don’t let go of the unit that you have before you secure the next one,” Kole said.

Building permits also continue to increase in the county.

The June report shows a total of 509 permits issued so far in 2021 compared to 340 in all of 2020. In 2019, there were 428 permits issued.

There have been 155 building permits added since May 1.