Garfield foreclosure filings continue to increase sharply

Foreclosure filings in Garfield County are up more than 50 percent over 2009, which followed a nearly fourfold increase over the year before that.

As in Mesa County, Garfield has yet to see the drop-off in filings being reported in other parts of the state.

“We haven’t seen any slowdown at all,” said Bob Slade.  Garfield County chief deputy public trustee.

As of Monday, the county had racked up 632 filings this year, with another 30 or so in Slade’s office that won’t all be processed before the year runs out, he said.

Last year’s 408 filings in the county compared to 108 in 2008, and easily beat the previous record of 244, set in 1985 because of the region’s oil shale bust.

Another energy industry slowdown, this one involving natural gas development, has contributed to Garfield County’s latest foreclosure problems. But while drilling activity has picked back up some, other aspects of the local economy, particularly construction work, have continued to stagnate.

In November, the county’s seasonally unadjusted jobless rate was 9.1 percent, up from 8.4 percent the previous month and 7 percent in November 2009.

Slade said the number of filings resulting in foreclosure sales also has been increasing. He had seven sales scheduled for this week, which is a light week, he said. He said there may be as many as 17 sales occurring in a week. Typically, the buyers have been the institutions that made the loans, he said.

The county also has had a growing number of commercial and high-dollar foreclosures, Slade said.

As broken down by ZIP Code, the Rifle area is leading the county in this year’s foreclosure filings, with 154, followed by Glenwood Springs with 116. However, areas with significantly smaller populations also are putting up big numbers, including Silt with 95, Carbondale with 93, New Castle with 92 and Parachute/Battlement Mesa with 78. Another four were on the county’s far eastern end.

Slade said his office has the equivalent of three full-time workers working on foreclosures, up from one and a half.


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