Doug Van Etten

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December 13, 2012
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Local real estate Q&A

A: Each year we see approximately the same number of homes sold in the months February through October. There is a 15-20% fall off in sales during the November-early January time period. That is also the time of year that the lowest number of properties are for sale.Years ago I coined the term "Christmas Tree Day." That day is Jan. 15 and I define it as the day by which the tree has been taken to the trash or compost and the floor swept or vacuumed enough times that all the pine needles have been cleaned up.Since buying slowed down during the previous two months, come mid-January buyers are motivated to get back into the market to buy a home. By marketing your home early in the year you can take advantage of motivated buyers and low numbers of houses yours has to compete with to get a sale from among those motivated buyers.

A: There sure is a lot of conflicting information offered up in the way of news, rumors, information and misinformation related to real estate so I can appreciate your cautious approach to purchasing a home.First off, the best time to buy is when you need housing. So, if you will be a CMU student this is a good time; and, that is a good reason to buy. On top of that, interest rates remain below 4% for many buyers today; near all-time record low rates.Another consideration is what are prices doing; specifically will they have gone up if you do not buy now but say wait until closer to the next school year? Prices in the GJ housing market are really a wild card. I am just going to give you a few examples of what I mean by that. Comparing fourth quarters of recent years, 2007 saw the greatest number of single family home sales in the Grand Valley with 745 sales. 2010 recorded the lowest fourth quarter sales with 408; and, this year there have been 612. Ironically, the sales prices have not tracked real well with those sales volumes. Locally, we saw the highest prices in 2007 when an average home sold for $261,850. In the low volume year of 2010 prices averaged $215,800; yet as number of sales in 2012 increased to 612, prices fell to a $190, 225 average.The paragraph above was a numbers-heavy way of saying that the Grand Junction home sales market is not following any conventional sales wisdom your Dad may be aware of or economic models your brother may have studied. The local market seems to be doing anything but responding to simple supply and demand expectations.In the end, let your decision be driven by need, reinforced by the low mortgage interest rates, and your own searching and observing in the home sales market to find a house that is right for you.Doug Van Etten is an associate broker with Keller Williams Colorado West Realty and is also the founder/organizer of the Real Estate Investors Network (REIN). Van Etten has been helping homebuyers, sellers and investors with their real estate needs since 1992. Contact Van Etten at or 970-433-4312. For information on the REIN,

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The Post Independent Updated Dec 13, 2012 03:30PM Published Dec 13, 2012 03:25PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.