County foreclosures hit 264 in 3rd quarter

Mesa County was the largest county in the state to see a year-over-year increase in foreclosure filings during the third quarter of 2010.

Mesa County’s foreclosure- filing total increased 20.9 percent year-over-year in the third quarter. Filings, which signal the beginning of the foreclosure process, also increased 21.9 percent quarter-to-quarter in the county.

The number of homes making it to the end of the foreclosure process in Mesa County grew two-and-a-half times year-over-year to 264 in the third quarter. Sales locally decreased 5 percent quarter-to-quarter.

The news isn’t likely to get better this year, according to Ryan McMaken, spokesman for the Colorado Division of Housing. Events that may affect the fourth quarter’s totals, McMaken said, include a decline in foreclosure sales in October because of a slowdown imposed by Bank of America and a handful of other banks concerned that robo-signings tainted some foreclosures. But it may not make a huge difference.

“I would be very surprised even with the slowdown if there were substantially fewer sales year-over-year,” McMaken said.

Bray Real Estate Agent Jason Holm said he has about 50 to 60 foreclosed homes in his inventory, a number that is little changed from this time last year. Holm said short sales of homes have increased in popularity and don’t take as long as some may think, once a price has been approved by a lender that has taken the home back from previous owners.

“Once we get them finished, I can close as soon as two weeks. It takes 30 to 45 days at the most,” Holm said.

Even as some homes are moving off the books, lenders are more interested than they once were in working with home- owners struggling to make payments, said Grand Junction Housing Authority Homeownership Coordinator Amy Case.

“I think we’re going to see even more of that now that some unemployment-specific programs have been rolled out,” Case said.

Case said a program for unemployed people helps them work with a lender before getting into the formal foreclosure process, and a new program will be finalized soon that will provide unemployed homeowners with loans.

No matter how bad the situation may seem, Colorado Foreclosure Hot Line Manager Stephanie Riggi said a home- owner should never walk away from a home without trying to figure out a solution.

“Maybe going through the foreclosure process is your best option, but it’s never a good idea not to communicate with your lender,” Riggi said.



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