New foreclosure auction sales were down 25 percent in Colorado during the first quarter of 2012, compared to the first quarter of 2011. Following three quarters of declines, auction sales rose slightly during the first quarter of this year, but remained well below totals reported during the first quarter of last year. According to a report released today by the Colorado Division of Housing, there were 4,221 foreclosure auction sales, or completed foreclosures, reported during the first quarter of 2012. There were 5,605 sales reported during the same period of last year. Sales totals rose four percent from the fourth quarter of last year to the first quarter of this year, rising from 4,057.
New foreclosure filings also fell during the first quarter. Foreclosure filing totals for the first quarter of this year were down 3.7 percent, falling to 7,783 from 2011’s first-quarter total of 8,079. From the fourth quarter of last year to the first quarter of this year, foreclosure filings fell 8.9 percent.
Foreclosure auction sales during the first quarter fell 40 percent below the 2007’s peak of 7,117 auction sales reported during the third quarter of that year. Auction sales totals are now near a five-year low. New foreclosure filings during the first quarter fell 37 percent below 2009’s peak of 12,468 reported during the third quarter of that year.
“Foreclosure activity continues to trend downward in Colorado, even when compared to early 2011 which itself saw a big drop from 2010 totals,” said Ryan McMaken, spokesman for the Colorado Division of Housing. “Toward the end of 2011, we saw employment and home prices stabilize while home buying appeared to increase, so these foreclosure numbers likely reflect those factors.”
While several regions of Colorado saw improvement during 2011, some areas continued to experience growth in foreclosures.
Eleven of the state’s twelve metropolitan counties reported year-over-year declines in the number of foreclosure auction sales occurring during the first quarter. Sales declined 39 percent in Denver and Douglas counties from the first quarter of last year to the first quarter this year, while El Paso County declined 24 percent during the same period. Only Broomfield County reported an increase, with auction sales rising 36 percent.
Those counties that did experience increases were generally found outside the Front Range. From the first quarter of 2011 to the first quarter of 2012, 16 of Colorado’s 64 counties reported increases in foreclosure auction sales. Among those 16, 11 were mountain counties including Garfield, San Miguel, Ouray and Eagle counties.
The five counties with the highest foreclosure rates during the first quarter were San Juan, Eagle, Garfield, Las Animas, and Park. Mesa County was the only metro county among the counties with the top ten highest foreclosure rates in the state. Boulder County, on the other hand, reported the lowest foreclosure rate of any metropolitan county and also had one of the lowest foreclosure rates overall.
“Several mountain counties are still dealing with growth in foreclosure activity, and may not have peaked yet,” McMaken said. “The Front Range, however, which drives the overall statewide totals, looks like it peaked back in 2010.”
Foreclosure sales are opened foreclosures that have proceeded through the full foreclosure process to final sale at public auction. Filings denote the beginning of the foreclosure process, and once a foreclosure is filed, the borrower has at least 110-120 days to work with the lender to avoid a completed foreclosure. It is during this period that borrowers work with lenders and housing counselors to work out loan modifications, short sales, or other ways of withdrawing the foreclosure.