Foreclosure rate in Mesa County 12th worst in state

Photo by Dean Humphrey—Paula, left, and Gary Ellis look at a foreclosed home near Whitewater shown by Jenny Gonzales of Bray Real Estate. Said David Durham, Bray Real Estate broker, “We are continuing to see a lot of these properties sell.”



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Photo by Dean Humphrey—Paula, left, and Gary Ellis look at a foreclosed home near Whitewater shown by Jenny Gonzales of Bray Real Estate. Said David Durham, Bray Real Estate broker, “We are continuing to see a lot of these properties sell.”

Mesa County’s foreclosure rate jumped from 44th in the state in the third quarter of 2009 to 12th in the third quarter of 2011 despite little change in the actual rate.

One out of every 254 Mesa County homes completed the foreclosure process between July 1 and Sept. 30, according to the Colorado Division of Housing. One out of every 283 homes finished the foreclosure process in the same months in 2009.

Western Slope and mountain counties have some of the highest foreclosure rates in Colorado now because Front Range counties have mostly recovered from their foreclosure boom, which began in early 2008, according to Colorado Division of Housing spokesman Ryan McMaken. McMaken said it took another year or longer for Western Slope counties to see an uptick in foreclosures, and mountain towns are just now seeing more full-time residents go into foreclosure.

“The decline in jobs just came to those parts of the state later, and people haven’t gotten to the point of adjustment yet,” McMaken said.

The adjustment could come soon in Mesa County, he added. Both filings and completed foreclosures in the county experienced a slight uptick in the third quarter compared to the second quarter, with 16 percent more filings and 13 percent more completed foreclosures in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, the number of foreclosure filings in Mesa County decreased by one-third year-over-year to 299 in the third quarter of 2011 and completed foreclosures decreased by 13 percent year-over-year to 229.

“The numbers seem to have bottomed out,” McMaken said.

Bob Reece, president of Advanced Title Co., said he expects initial foreclosure filings to remain steady from now on, which he said would mean a stabilization of completed foreclosure numbers in six to eight months when today’s filings will have worked their way through the foreclosure process.

Home sale prices could “firm up” this spring if there are fewer foreclosed homes on the market, Reece said. He reported this week in a quarterly newsletter the median home sale price in Mesa County was $158,000 in the third quarter, up from $156,000 in the second quarter, but down from $190,000 in the third quarter of 2010.

Mesa County home sales were up 40 percent year-over-year in the third quarter to 843, according to Reece, but he expects price stabilization next year to attract even more buyers.

“A lot of people are waiting for the bottom” before buying, he said.

Reece said foreclosed homes “generally push prices down” for all residential real estate. Bray Real Estate broker David Durham said foreclosures don’t always move prices as much as people think. But he said lenders do have more interest in unloading homes than most private sellers.

“Fannie Mae wants to sell (homes) for market value. Our job is to get them sold. If it takes the lower price to do that, then we’ll do it,” Durham said.

Durham said foreclosed homes are available all over the Grand Valley and although homes prices at $170,000 or below are moving the fastest, foreclosures are available in a range of prices. If there’s one common thread in Durham’s inventory of 50 or so foreclosed homes, he said it is most have a deed of trust dated between late 2005 and early 2008.

“Either people bought them or refinanced in that time period and then got caught when things took a dive,” he said.

Durham said he is handling more foreclosed homes than he was in the third quarter, and he had more foreclosures in his inventory in the third quarter than he had in the second quarter. The properties he is listing didn’t all come from recently completed foreclosures, though. Several properties in Durham’s inventory went to foreclosure auction four or five months ago, he said.

Durham said he is not sure why there was a delay between the auction and the time when he received the properties, but he has a guess.

“I think we all keep hearing rumors that these lenders are holding big bunches of these properties and don’t want them flooding the market at the same time,” he said. “The good news is we are continuing to see a lot of these properties sell. I would guess we have 15 or 20 (foreclosed homes) under contract getting ready to close.”



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