Thursday, August 11, 2011

Foreclosure filings in Colorado fall 28 percent

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Foreclosure filings in Colorado fall 28 percent

New foreclosure filings fell to 15,348 in Colorado during 2011’s first half, falling 28.2 percent from 2010’s first-half total of 21,369. According to a report released Thursday by the Colorado Division of Housing, foreclosure sales at auction, the event that completes the foreclosure process, also dropped during the first half of 2011, falling 13 percent from 12,573 to 10,938, year-over-year.

The year-to-date declines in foreclosure activity at mid-year were reflected in the second quarter's foreclosure totals. From 2010's second quarter to the second quarter of this year, filings fell 29.3 percent from 10,233 to 7,233. During the same period, sales at auction fell 9.4 percent from 5,887 to 5,333.

Foreclosures also fell from the first quarter to the second quarter of this year, with foreclosure filings dropping 10.9 percent and sales dropping 4.9 percent.

Foreclosure filings during the second quarter fell to the second-lowest quarterly total recorded since the State began collecting quarterly totals during the first quarter of 2007. Foreclosure filings have fallen 42 percent from 2009’s third-quarter total when filings peaked at more than 12,000 new foreclosures. Foreclosure sales at auction, on the other hand, have generally moved sideways for the past two years as large numbers of new foreclosures have slowly moved through the foreclosure process.

“While some of the decrease in foreclosure activity is due to the banks processing foreclosures more slowly, there are also reasons to believe that there are in fact fewer people actually getting behind on their payments," said Ryan McMaken, a spokesman with the Colorado Division of Housing. "Consequently, the number of new households entering the foreclosure process is down quite a bit from any other year since 2007. But, the fact that foreclosure sales at auction are holding steady tells us that there are still a lot of properties in the foreclosure process that must be dealt with."

While several regions of Colorado saw improvement during the first quarter, some areas continued to experience growth in foreclosures.

Foreclosure filings fell, year over year, in 48 of Colorado's 64 counties during the second quarter. Foreclosure sales at auction, on the other hand, fell in only half of Colorado's counties, with many counties reporting sizable increases in the number of foreclosure sales at auction.

Eagle, Elbert, Gunnison, Montezuma and Summit counties reported increases of twenty percent or more in the number of foreclosure sales at auction. At the same time, both foreclosure sales and filings dropped significantly in Denver, Adams, Arapahoe, Douglas and El Paso counties.

Generally speaking, foreclosure activity since 2008 has tended to show the most sustained declines in Front Range counties while the largest increases have been found on the Western Slope and in the central mountains. This reverses a trend that lasted from 2003 to 2008 in which counties on the Western Slope and in the central mountains reported far less growth in foreclosures than did the counties of the Front Range.

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.