Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Foreclosure filings fell 25 percent in Colorado last year

New foreclosure filings were down 25 percent in Colorado during 2011, dropping to the lowest annual total reported since 2006. There were 31,914 new foreclosure filings in Colorado during 2011, compared to 42,746 filed during 2010. According to a report released Wednesday by the Colorado Division of Housing, foreclosure sales at auction, the event that completes the foreclosure process, were also down during 2011, falling to the lowest level recorded since 2006. Auction sales fell 17 percent from 23,854 in 2010 to 19,622 during 2011.

Foreclosure filing totals for the fourth quarter of this year were down 20.5 percent, falling to 8,540 this year from 2010’s fourth-quarter total of 10,737. Foreclosure sales at auction fell 13.5 percent to 4,057 from 2010’s fourth-quarter total of 4,691.

From the third quarter to the fourth quarter of this year, foreclosure filings rose 6.4 percent, while foreclosure auction sales fell 12.3 percent.

Foreclosure filings fell for the second year in a row during 2011, falling to 31 percent below 2009’s peak of 46,394. Foreclosure sales at auction fell from 2010 to 2011, following an increase in sales from 2009 to 2010. Foreclosure sales at auction peaked at 25,054 during 2007. Auction sales totals fell 21 percent below peak levels during 2011.

Compared quarter-to-quarter, foreclosure auction sales have fallen for the past three quarters, reflecting substantial declines in new foreclosure filings that occurred from late 2010 to mid-2011. Foreclosure filings have risen for the past two quarters.

“Foreclosures really slowed down during 2011, but not all of that was due to improvements in the real estate markets,” said Ryan McMaken, spokesman for the Colorado Division of Housing. “Many lenders slowed down the processing of foreclosures during the first half of 2011 to deal with legal issues. Nevertheless, we do know that mortgage delinquencies are down and that home prices are stabilizing, so that also helped to push down foreclosure totals.”

While several regions of Colorado saw improvement during 2011, some areas continued to experience growth in foreclosures.

All twelve of the state’s metropolitan counties reported drops in both foreclosure filings and auction sales during 2011. From 2010 to 2011, Adams County filings fell 27 percent and Denver County filings fell 32 percent. Foreclosure filings in Mesa County fell 28 percent during the same period. Most of the state’s 64 counties reported year-over-year declines in foreclosure filings.

Those counties that did experience increases were generally found on the Western Slope and outside the Front Range. From 2010 to 2011, only 12 of Colorado’s 64 counties reported increases in foreclosure filings. Among those 12, ten were mountain counties including Garfield, Routt, San Miguel, Gilpin and Lake counties.

None of the state’s metropolitan counties were found among the counties with the highest foreclosure rates. The five counties with the highest foreclosure rates were Gilpin, Garfield, San Miguel, Grand and Lincoln counties. 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.

Although foreclosures filings have fallen for the past two years, foreclosure activity remains at unusually high levels.

“Foreclosure sales at auction have basically been flat for the past five years and totals are still twice what we’d consider to be normal,” McMaken said. “We expect more progress to be made in 2012, although the task of dealing with the existing inventory of properties in foreclosure is likely to extend beyond this year.