Mesa County’s foreclosure filings fall

Sales of homes up in same period

Fewer foreclosure notices were tagged to Mesa County homes in the first quarter of 2011 than in any quarter of 2010.

The 276 first-quarter foreclosure filings dropped by nearly one-third year-over-year and by nearly 40 percent from the fourth quarter.

Foreclosure sales, which mark the completion of the foreclosure process, are a lagging indicator and remain abundant. After decreasing each quarter since the second quarter of 2010, the number of completed foreclosures in Mesa County increased by 47 from the fourth quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2011.

In Mesa County, 264 homes sold at foreclosure auctions in the first three months of this year, six more than in the first three months of 2010.

Some indicators suggest fewer foreclosed homes may be headed for the auction block. Bray Real Estate broker associate David Durham said bankers have told him to expect a flood of new homes that have gone through foreclosure when banks and lenders start getting through their stockpiles of foreclosure-related work and are able to move homes more quickly through the process. So far, though, Durham said that hasn’t happened.

“Our inventory has slowed down considerably in the past 60 days. That’s a good sign,” he said. “On the first of the year we had 50 or 60 properties in our inventory, and 30 or 40 were on the market. Those numbers may be down to half of that now.”

Durham said he closed on between 35 and 40 foreclosed homes in the last two months, mostly for prices below $200,000.

While Mesa County’s foreclosure situation seems to be improving, at least with filings, the county is behind larger Front Range counties in its progress. That’s why its rate of one completed foreclosure for every 221 homes in the county is the highest among Colorado’s 12 most-populous counties.

Larger counties experienced foreclosure spikes early because they were impacted by the national economy earlier. Now mountain and rural counties are seeing more primary residences in foreclosure, and those people have fewer counseling resources to help them out of the process, according to Amy Case, home-ownership services supervisor for the Grand Junction Housing Authority.

“They have a real lack of HUD-approved counseling. There are 68 counselors in northern Colorado and Denver and seven counselors in southern and western Colorado,” Case said. “Going it alone, the odds of success are probably lower.”


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