Mesa County foreclosures up in first quarter

Filings more than doubled from same time period in '09

Slightly less than half a percent of all occupied homes in Mesa County sold at foreclosure auction in the first three months of 2010, giving the county the 12th highest foreclosure rate among Colorado’s 64 counties.

Sales at auction of foreclosed Mesa County homes jumped from 44 in the first quarter of 2009 to 258 in the first quarter of 2010. Foreclosure filings more than doubled in the same time frame, with 397 filings in the first quarter of 2010, compared to 175 in the first quarter of 2009. Statewide, foreclosure filings increased just 6 percent year-over-year in the first quarter, and foreclosure sales increased 53 percent.

The year-over-year increase in foreclosure sales is likely linked to a ban on foreclosure-related evictions Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac adopted 18 months ago, according to Ryan McMaken, spokesman for the Colorado Division of Housing, which released a first-quarter foreclosure report Thursday. The ban ended March 31, 2009.

Homes can be sold at auction as soon as 110 days after the foreclosure process begins, but homes stay in the foreclosure process six to eight months on average these days, McMaken said. That time frame fits with a bump in foreclosure filings last summer, possibly leading to a spike in foreclosure sales in the first quarter of this year, he said.

Although foreclosure filings dropped 17 percent between the fourth quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2010, Bray & Company Real Estate broker David Durham said he doesn’t have much hope that local foreclosure sales will ease any time soon. Durham said his cache of homes returned to Fannie Mae post-foreclosure has nearly doubled since January. He’s now trying to sell 40 such properties. He recently enlisted another broker to help him juggle the extra listings.

“Our contact with Fannie Mae has indicated they’ve been told we’re going to have a continued growth in properties here. In the near future I think it’s only going to get worse in this area,” Durham said.

The Colorado Foreclosure Hot Line is taking more calls from the Western Slope and fewer calls from its home in the Denver area, said Stephanie Riggi, hot line manager.

“It’s hard because we’re not as familiar with what’s going on in the Mesa County area,” Riggi said.

Riggi said the hot line has been working with the Grand Junction Housing Authority’s one foreclosure counselor to get people the right information on what they can do to prevent having their home auctioned after they get a foreclosure notice. The information is in demand, Riggi said, noting more than 60 families attended a foreclosure prevention workshop last weekend in Grand Junction.


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