Thursday, August 13, 2009

New foreclosure filings increase in Colorado

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New foreclosure filings in Colorado topped 12,000 during the second quarter, while both new foreclosure filings and completed foreclosures grew 15 percent above first quarter totals. According to a report released Thursday by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs’ Division of Housing, new foreclosure filings reached 12,135 during the second quarter for a mid-year total of 22,644. Completed foreclosures during the second quarter reached 4,999, for a mid-year total of 9,353.

During 2008, there were 39,333 total foreclosure filings and 21,301 total completed foreclosures.

While the second quarter showed renewed growth in foreclosure activity when compared to the first quarter, year-over-year comparisons showed more mixed results. When comparing the first half of 2009 to the same period last year, foreclosure filings increased 0.3 percent while completed foreclosures fell 5 percent.

Changes in foreclosure activity varied by region. Comparing the first half of 2009 to the first half of last year, the report notes that Adams, Arapahoe, and Denver Counties all experienced significant declines in total numbers of completed foreclosures. Denver’s completed foreclosure totals fell 30 percent while Adams County and Arapahoe County fell 19 percent and 16 percent respectively.

The largest increases were found in counties outside of metro Denver. For the first half of the year, El Paso County reported an increase of 30 percent over the same period last year, while Mesa County reported an increase of 143 percent. Pueblo County and Weld County, which have been among counties with the highest foreclosure rates in recent years, reported slight declines in completed foreclosures of 2 percent and 0.4 percent respectively.

The report noted that an increase in foreclosure activity as compared to the first quarter of this year had been expected. Many lenders and investors had enacted both formal and informal moratoria on foreclosures which slowed down the foreclosure process for many. As these moratoria were phased out, officials expected to see an increase in the number of new foreclosures. However, while new foreclosure filings are showing notable growth, the number of completed foreclosures has still not returned to the levels experienced during 2007 and 2008.

“Completed foreclosures are showing restrained growth,” said Ryan McMaken, a spokesperson with the Division of Housing. “Although new filings are showing a bit of growth in some areas, we don’t expect substantial growth in completed foreclosures this year as compared to last year. That may be due to the fact that so many foreclosure prevention initiatives like the Foreclosure Hotline have really expanded services in recent years.”

New foreclosure filings, which begin the foreclosure process, increased for the third time in three quarters as foreclosure filings climbed 15 percent to 12,135 from the first quarter’s total of 10,509.Completed foreclosures increased for the first time in three quarters as foreclosure sales climbed 15 percent to 4,999 from the first quarter’s total of 4,354. Quarterly totals of 6,000 to 7,000 were common during 2007 and 2008.

Foreclosure rates also vary considerably from county to county. The highest rate in a metropolitan county was found in Adams County where there was 1 completed foreclosure for every 117 households. In Weld County, there was 1 for every 120 households, and 1 for every 169 households in Denver County.

The latest data reinforces past claims that high foreclosure rates are somewhat restricted to the Front Range and eastern Colorado. Counties in western Colorado experienced much lower foreclosure rates. Mesa County reported 1 completed foreclosure for every 544 households and Garfield County reported 1 for every 1,451 households.