Hardly a day goes by that someone doesn’t ask “How’s the real estate market,” or says, “So I hear that things are selling pretty well, right?”
Yep. It’s pretty active. Summer is the time that people are touring around and a certain number of them are scouting the area for possible relocation. It’s also a good time for locals who are tired of renting to shop.
The number of properties under-contract in the North Fork area continues to hover above ten which means that sales in the pipeline are steady. While mid-2015’s Delta County total MLS reported sales of $63 Million were just 7% higher than 2014’s first half, residential sales posted a $10M increase to $42M, a jump of 30% and accounted for fully two-thirds of the total volume. Delta area sales of $15.6M were highest, followed by the Surface Creek area ($14.1) and the North Fork at ($12.7) and, it’s interesting to note, while the median home price increased about 5% in Delta and Surface Creek ($140 & $145k) it surged 25% in the North Fork to a recent high of $181,250. Sales of vacant land more than doubled in the first-half to just over $5,000,000 with $3M of that coming from the North Fork. Transaction categories broke down into: town / development lots from $15 – 55k, dry 40’s from $62 – $95k, small-acreage parcels with a water tap and irrigation from $90 – $250k and larger irrigated parcels and mountain acreage from $290 – $375K some of which could have been considered farm / ranch land. By local MLS guidelines, a property must have at least 35 acres to be categorized as a farm or ranch even though many of our local organic farms and orchards are smaller – so sometimes the lines, and stats, get blurred. Last year was a big one for ranch sales so it’s not surprising that things are behind by a third so far this year at $12.5 M.
What is something of a shock though is that the North Fork’s volume ($10M) was ten times that of Delta and Surface Creek with a mill-and-change each. And, if any of the recently listed ranch properties owned by Bill Koch’s Bear Ranch / Oxbow Corp. sell this year it will put North Fork area sales miles ahead of the others. The offerings have been rumored for months and are the result of the failed exploration for a viable coal mine on Oak Mesa and the completion of the Bear Ranch Townsite on the Kebler pass road for which the now-for-sale properties played a supporting role during its construction.
Last, and in this case least, commercial sales came in at just half of last year’s level and, at $2.1 million, represent just 3% of market volume. With inventory of mid-priced homes down it wouldn’t be surprising if third-quarter sales growth dips a little but, with increasing talk of interest rates rising, expect that those looking to buy before winter will be ready to pounce when the right home for them hits the market.
(This article was also published in the Merchant Herald.)