As mentioned in previous blogs I’ve written, Delta County is due for a population “mini boom”. This has just been confirmed by the state’s Demography Office as mentioned twice in the Grand Junction’s Daily Sentinel (November 8th and December 7th, 2017 editions).
According to the Nov. 8th article, between 2015 and 2050, Colorado will add the equivalent of another metro Denver, on its way to 8.46 million residents and that Colorado Springs will overtake Denver as the largest city. In the Dec. 7th article, they were focused on Grand Junction but the graph showed in percentages, the growth for the individual counties: Mesa County at 59%; Delta County 41%; Montrose County at 82% and Garfield County at 83%. For Delta County that equates to 42,000 in total population. It’s stated that the data is meant to help local planners take a look at the current infrastructure in order to plan for what is likely to happen over the next 30 plus years. Age base is one of the factors they look at and since we have a lower living cost and good health care, we’re attractive to retirees and young baby boomers.
The current challenges we’re facing include the lack of inventory of attainable/affordable housing either to purchase or to rent in all western Colorado. Also, the lack of contract labor and high material costs are making it difficult in building new homes. Plus, we have general contractors doing development but no developers doing development which means more custom homes, or a very limited number of homes being built at any one time. Land costs are at an all-time low, which helps, but with the impact fees and construction costs, it puts rental rates at Denver levels, which with our lower income base, makes it unaffordable. The November 2017 Delta County MLS sales stats reflect over a 7% increase in sales, very low inventory, a 7.6% increase in the median sales price and a 12% decrease in average days on the market. What I’ve heard from our local residential brokers is they are now experiencing multiple offers on their listings, so this is the perfect time to increase inventory if the costs and prices come in line.
According to our County Administrator, there are over 1,700 residential lots in Delta County, ready to build on. An associate whose business is in Fruita and Grand Junction said they are running out of room to expand based on their current infrastructure. Hmmm, where do we stand right now with our predicted growth for Delta County? One would hope that during the Master Planning sessions, this is being addressed. My prediction is the County/Community that is on top of their game with a well thought out long-term growth plan will be the most desired place to live, work and play. Let that be Delta County!