Thursday, June 17, 2010

New foreclosure filings at eighteen-month low

The full report is here.

Foreclosure filings in Colorado’s largest counties fell 18.4 percent last month as compared to May of last year. According to a report released today by the Department of Local Affairs’ Division of Housing, foreclosure filings fell 18.4 percent from April to May of this year. With 2,633 filings across the state’s twelve metropolitan counties, May’s filings total in May was the lowest monthly total in eighteen months.

Foreclosure sales at auction fell 19.2 percent from April to May of this year, falling to the lowest monthly total in nine months. Filings rose 18.3 percent from May 2009 to May 2010.

The year-over-year difference partially reflects the low number of foreclosure sales that occurred last spring due to last year’s voluntary moratoria on foreclosures.

Foreclosure filings are the initial filing that begins the foreclosure process, and foreclosure sales totals are the total number of foreclosures that have been sold at auction at the end of the foreclosure process.

“Foreclosure numbers have tended to dip in May in recent years, but this drop was larger than expected,” said Ryan McMaken, a spokesperson for the Division of Housing. “We are seeing a slow downward trend in filings right now and that’s a reason to be cautiously optimistic.”

The last time that foreclosure filings were as low as May’s total of 2,633 was during November 2008 when filings fell to 2,506. During the past eighteen months, monthly filings totals have typically ranged from 2,800 to 3,600 filings. Additionally, foreclosure sales at auction fell to a nine-month low, dropping to 1,459. Foreclosure sales had not been as low since August 2009 when sales dipped to 1,359.

“Housing counselors are seeing just as many people as ever, and lenders are also processing foreclosures more slowly right now,” said Stephanie Riggi, manager of the Colorado Foreclosure Hotline’s call center. “The requirements of the many loss mitigation programs now in place are slowing things down a bit, and that also allows more time for workouts which means fewer foreclosure sales at auction.”

Foreclosure activity varied by county. The counties with the largest decreases in foreclosure filings from May 2009 to May 2010 were Weld County and Douglas County, where filings decreased by 39.2 percent and 31.7 percent, respectively. Mesa County was the only county surveyed where filings increased. Year over year filings in Mesa County increased by 1.1 percent.

Year over year, Mesa County and Jefferson County were the only counties to report sizable increases in foreclosure sales. Sales increased 260 percent and 28.1 percent in Mesa County and Jefferson County, respectively. Sales fell by 27 percent in Pueblo County and 21.3 percent in Larimer County.

The county with the highest rate of foreclosure sales was Weld County with a rate of 634 households per foreclosure sale. Adams County came in second with 761 households per foreclosure sale. The lowest rate was found in Boulder County where there were 2,821 households per foreclosure sale. The largest increase in foreclosure rates since 2009 was found in Mesa County where the foreclosure rate increased from 2,218 households per foreclosure to 616 households per foreclosure, year over year.

The Division of Housing’s monthly foreclosure report surveys foreclosure activity in the twelve largest counties of Colorado. The report is a supplement to the Division’s quarterly foreclosure report that includes all counties in Colorado.