Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the real estate industry in Mesa County thrived for the most part.

Offers on houses are being received within days of being listed. According to the November 2020 Bray Report, houses were on the market for an average of 56 days.

There were only 351 residential listings in Mesa County, 49% lower than in November 2019.

Meanwhile, homes are being sold at about the same rate as last year.

“The new year figures to be fairly similar to 2020 in that residential inventory is going to be low,” said Ron Sechrist, a broker associate with Bray Real Estate. “In my 42 years, this is the lowest inventory I’ve seen.”

A healthy market would have a balanced supply and demand.

Though if the market is going to be lopsided, it would be better to have not enough homes to sell than too many, Stewart Cruickshank, sales manager with Bray, told The Daily Sentinel in October.

Because demand outweighs the supply, building permits are being issued more frequently than in 2019.

As of November, building permits were up 9%.

However, quality homes can take months to build. Because of that, Sechrist doesn’t expect the supply to catch up with the demand until 2022.

The houses that are available tend to be more expensive, as well.

The median price of houses on the market sits at $287,000, a 13% year-to-date increase.

Of the 3,665 residential properties sold, 591 were priced below $200,000.

However, low interest rates on loans could offset the higher prices. Currently, the interest rate on 15-year loans is at 2.125% and the rate on 30-year loans is 2.625%.

The homes being sold are often larger and in new neighborhoods. Sechrist estimates that there was a 40% increase in large homes being sold in 2020 compared to the previous year.

“We were shrinking houses, and now it’s the opposite,” he said. “People don’t know how long they’re going to be indoors. So, they want an office, a backyard, even a game room for the kids.”

The people buying the houses also tend to be new to the Grand Valley. They’re retirees or from dense cities such as Denver.

Many companies are adopting work-from-home models, which then allows them to emphasize an employee’s quality of life.

This trend began in 2018, Sechrist said, but COVID accelerated it “by leaps and bounds.”

That’s not entirely a good thing, though, especially for Grand Valley residents looking for a new home.

“Locals cannot compete with the people moving here,” Sechrist said. “By the time they put their house on the market and sell it, someone already bought the house they were looking at. Now they need to live in the RV or with mom and dad while they look for another house.

“That’s the big question our industry is facing in 2021.”

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