Foreclosures continue decline in Mesa County

The number of foreclosed homes sold at auction in Mesa County in May plunged for the third straight month.

The decline likely will continue if a drop in foreclosure filings is any indication, and it may signify the real estate market is continuing its slow rebound.

The 57 foreclosure sales last month were 34 percent fewer than in April and less than half of the 116 sales in March, a number that represented the high-water mark in the county during the recession.

That the number of foreclosure filings in May held steady compared to April and is down both year-to-date and compared to May 2010 is a double-dose of good news for a county emerging from the recession more slowly than other parts of Colorado.

“It really remains to be seen if that’s a trend yet because those (foreclosure sales) were holding steady. But we’re hopeful about Mesa County that they’ve plateaued and started to head down,” said Ryan McMaken, spokesman for the Colorado Division of Housing, which issued its May foreclosure report Tuesday.

Foreclosure sales in May declined 37 percent compared to May of last year, which was the second-largest percentage drop among the 12 most populated counties in Colorado. Year-to-date, sales are down nearly 8 percent, from 441 to 407.

The 92 foreclosure filings last month were 4 percent fewer than the same time last year. The 451 year-to-date filings are 30 percent fewer than the first five months of last year.

McMaken noted that while filings mark the beginning of the foreclosure process and are a leading indicator, they don’t tell as much about the economy and the real-estate market as sales because homeowners who file for foreclosure may find a way to keep up on their payments or otherwise avoid relinquishing their properties to the bank.

“While it’s good to see filings decline, you don’t see real relief until sales decline,” he said. “The really good news is when sales at auction decline following a decline in filings.”

Advanced Title Co. President Bob Reece called the decrease in foreclosures “a good sign.”

“We’ve seen this downward trend in foreclosures for a few months, so it’s promising,” he said.

The drop should translate into home prices, which have plummeted in conjunction with the glut of foreclosed homes on the market, rebounding in the coming months.

“When prices firm up, that actually helps the entire real estate market,” he said.


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