In 2019, the town of Delta and Delta County finally started to enjoy the real estate boom that hit the front range at least eight years ago and started spreading into Mesa County about five years ago. Although professionals in the real estate industry were concerned in the springtime that the pandemic might put an end to it, it’s actually had the opposite effect.
“The pandemic has initiated a move out of metro areas,” said Betsy Suerth, director of public works and utilities for the city of Delta. “People are choosing Delta for more wide open spaces, and to be closer to recreation. We’re getting retirees, but we’re also getting young families.”
Recreation has been a big draw for both the city and county of Delta. The city has been building improvements at Confluence Park, which now has a large, brand new bike park and more than five miles of single track trails that run along the river and through the park. Delta County also has great access for river activities, like rafting, kayaking, fishing or SUP, and the county also has great areas for dirt bikes and ATVs. Camping, rock-climbing, mountain biking, horseback riding and other outdoor recreational opportunities abound in the county.
“The tranquility of our area has become more important to people now,” said Wilma Erven, the director of culture, parks and recreation for the city of Delta. “The pandemic has shown people that they can work from home.”
There are several subdivisions in Delta that got started prior to the Great Recession in 2006 or 2007, and stalled when the recession hit and residential growth came to a standstill. In 2019, developers and builders started taking an interest in Stone Mountain Village, Fox Hollow and Cunningham Orchard Estates to develop the remaining lots and build homes.
At Stone Mountain Ranch, sales have been steady since building began again in 2019.
“Homes are selling pretty quickly,” said Robert Jones, with Vortex Engineering, the owner’s representative. “There was quite a bit of pent-up demand for new construction; it had been quite some time since there had been any new homes.”
H.B. Mason with Mason Real Estate has been listing the homes, most of which sell before construction is finished.
“We’re getting people who are selling somewhere else,” Mason said. “We’re also getting a lot of commuters. The homes that we’re selling here would sell for much higher in Grand Junction or Fruita.”
Stone Mountain Ranch is on the north side of Delta, about a half mile from Highway 50.
There are only about 10 lots left at Fox Hollow, where builder Lynn Tallent is the exclusive builder for the lots that remain from the pre-recession subdivision. Fox Hollow is on Garnet Mesa, which is southeast of downtown Delta, in an elevated part of town.
“We started building spec homes last year,” said Tallent, “when the banks were willing to loan money for a spec home.”
Clayton Homes, a national company with a Grand Junction location that builds manufactured housing and modular homes, purchased the 33 remaining lots in West Mountain Ranch earlier this year. That subdivision is also on the north side of Delta, just off Highway 50. When the subdivision started more than a dozen years ago, there were 35 lots available for sale. Two sold, and those two homes were the only ones in the subdivision for more than a dozen years.
Lot sizes at West Mountain Ranch range from 1.7 to two acres, and all lots have pressurized irrigation and underground utilities, with septic systems rather than sewer service. Clayton Homes will build upscale modular homes on the lots, and will include either a detached metal, two-car pole barns or two-car attached garages. The company has five different floor plans for the subdivision, ranging from 1,600 to 2,100 square feet.
“They’ll be on a crawl space foundation, and built to the 2015 energy code,” said Shawn Ruse with Clayton Homes. The company hopes to submit building permits soon, and start putting in foundations by November.
“We’d like to have them ready for sale by January or February,” Ruse said.
The city of Delta is currently working on its comprehensive plan, and is working to get community involvement for the plan.
“We’re just getting ready to launch citizen advisory committee meetings,” said Suerth. Those meetings will look different because of the pandemic, but the city still hopes to hear from citizens on street improvement, recreation, economic development and other issues that are important to Delta residents.
The Colorado Department of Transportation has been working on a construction project at the corner of Highway 92 and Highway 50 for several weeks, and closed Highway 50 through downtown for about three weeks. All traffic was diverted to Confluence Drive. Highway 50 is open again through downtown Delta, but Suerth and many downtown Delta businesses hope that truck traffic continues to use Confluence Drive rather than Highway 50.
The city of Delta is also working with CDOT to improve Main Street in Delta to make it more pedestrian-friendly.