Foreclosure sales, filings decrease in Mesa County

Foreclosure filings and sales are declining in Mesa County, according to data released Thursday by the Colorado Division of Housing.

Nearly 7 percent fewer foreclosure filings, which mark the beginning of the foreclosure process, were issued in Mesa County during the second quarter than during the first quarter. Filings decreased more than 30 percent year-over-year to 257 in the second quarter.

Foreclosure sales also took a dive. Sales, which complete the foreclosure process by turning a property over to a lender or a new buyer, decreased 23 percent quarter-to-quarter and fell 27 percent year-over-year to 203 in the second quarter.

At the same time fewer foreclosures are coming onto the market, Bray Real Estate broker David Durham said he has been able to move more foreclosed homes out of his inventory of listings. Durham said his inventory of foreclosed homes has been depleting all year, and few homes are being added to replenish the list. He believes foreclosed homes are selling faster than others because banks will sell for less just to get rid of a home they don’t want.

“Even three-and-a-half years into this downturn, owner-occupants have not come to grips that their house is worth a lower price. The lender doesn’t have that restriction,” Durham said.

Some lenders are taking more time to foreclose on a home after last fall’s robo-signing controversy in which banks erroneously signed off on a flood of foreclosures. That slower pace means plenty of foreclosures still are in the works, and it could be years before foreclosure sales numbers drop significantly, according to Ryan McMaken, spokesman for the Colorado Division of Housing. But even a slight slowdown in completed foreclosures is good news, he said, as is the more significant decline in foreclosure filings.

“At least we’re not adding as quickly to the inventory (of foreclosure paperwork) as before,” McMaken said.

Foreclosure filings have been on the decline since the fourth quarter of 2010 in Mesa County. That decline has been reflected in fewer local and statewide calls to the Colorado Foreclosure Hotline, according to Amy Case, supervisor of home ownership services for the Grand Junction Housing Authority.

The hot line routes most calls from Mesa County residents to counselors with the housing authority. Those counselors take 60 to 90 days on average to help a person facing foreclosure reach an agreement with a lender that will keep them out of foreclosure, Case said. Some people reach a solution with their lender in as little as two weeks. Others take a year to work something out.

“One thing that remains to be seen is if those workouts will be successful in the long run,” Case said.


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