The last quarter of 2014 saw a notable increase in the value of commercial properties sold around Mesa County, with one brokerage reporting an increase of nearly 35 percent.

The value of commercial properties sold in Mesa County through 2014 was about $37 million, up from about $33 million in 2013, according to a report compiled by Bray Commercial Group.

In all, there were 89 commercial property transactions in 2014, a slight increase over 2013, but a long ways from the peak of 161 sales recorded in 2007, the report said.

Commercial construction permits rose 39 percent compared to 2013, but the value of the permits was down 25 percent, a reflection of “the reluctant recovery of our local economy … in commercial sales, leasing and construction,” said Kevin Bray, a broker with Bray Commercial Group.

Bray Real Estate CEO Robert Bray called the 12 percent increase in annual sales around the county a “pleasant surprise.”

Results for the fourth quarter were even more impressive for Bray Commercial Group itself, which saw an increase of between 34 percent and 35 percent compared to the same period in 2013, said Sid Squirrell, a certified commercial investment broker with Bray.

“We’re definitely headed in the right direction,” Squirrell said.

“We were up about 20 percent. It was a great year for investor sales,” said Dale Beede, a certified commercial investment broker with Grand Junction Coldwell Banker Commercial, Prime Properties.

Investor sales involve properties that use triple net leases to reduce capital outlay for investors by shifting the obligation to pay real estate taxes, insurance and maintenance to the tenant, Beede said.

Investors with cash but few options to put their money to work decided 2014 was the time to invest in commercial property, “something they can see and touch,” he said.

Returns of between 6 percent and 10 percent on triple net properties are standard, which is why they usually provide a better return than fixed income bonds and a more reliable return than volatile stocks, Beede said.

For example, putting extra cash to work was the principal motivation behind Fruita Coop’s decision to expand and remodel its existing building, said Alex Kamas, president and CEO.

Office space commanded the most value during 2014 with a median price of $127 per square foot. The median price for retail space was $87 per square foot and warehouse space sold for around $65 a square foot, according to the Bray report.

The largest transaction recorded during the fourth quarter was the sale of Hansen International, an industrial truck and accessories dealership situated on 15 acres at 2332 I-70 Frontage Road. The dealership sold Oct. 10 for $3.25 million, or about $72 per square foot, the assessor’s office reported.

Low oil prices recorded in 2014 are expected to continue in 2015. This will have “a positive effect on the overall economy by spurring consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of gross domestic product,” Kevin Bray said.