Foreclosure pace easing from a year ago

A notice about a foreclosure deferment program offered by the state Department of Local Affairs is taped on the door of a home in the 2200 block of Hawthorne Avenue, below a foreclosure notice at upper right.



QUICKREAD

1985: 1,600 filings
2010: 1,590 filings
1986: 1,400 filings
2009: 1,290 filings
1987: 951 filings

— Source: Mesa County Public Trustee’s Office



After financially troubled homeowners accounted for the second-most foreclosure filings in Mesa County’s history last year, there are signs that the marketplace may be crawling out of its dark hole, or at least not retreating further back.

As of Friday, 199 homes in the county had begun the foreclosure process, a 30 percent drop from the 287 homes that filed through Feb. 25 of last year.

“I’ve said this so many times you’re probably tired of hearing it, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Mesa County Public Trustee Paul Brown told county commissioners during a presentation Monday.

There were a total of 1,590 foreclosure filings in the county in 2010. That number is exceeded only by the 1,600 filings in 1985, when homeowners in the Grand Valley were staggering from the oil-shale bust.

The high volume of filings has inflated Brown’s budget. His office spent nearly $335,000 last year compared with $256,000 in 2009, and his spending is forecast to grow to $369,000 this year.

It’s possible, though, that Brown will spend less than that, if the most recent foreclosure filings and sales are any indication.

The number of filings has dropped year-over-year for the past three months. Filings slid from 231 in December 2009 to 128 in December 2010, and they also were down in January (145 last year, 118 this year) and February (142 last year, 81 this year).

Even if, over time, filings don’t continue to decline, a flattening in the numbers would represent good news, said Colorado Division of Housing spokesman Ryan McMaken.

“Give the last three months of data, I am hopeful,” he said. “It’s better than huge increases (in filings).”

McMaken cautioned against immediately reading too much into the decline in foreclosure sales in terms of an economic recovery, noting that most of those homes will ultimately be sold and the county “will still have a lot of people whose homes are being lost.”


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