Still ‘dodging the bullet,’ Mesa County foreclosures climb

High Numbers Raise Stakes

Area foreclosures spiked over the past two months, according to numbers reported Tuesday by the Mesa County Public Trustee.

“It’s picked up a little bit since the last quarterly report,” said Paul Brown, trustee for Mesa County.

The number of foreclosures this year reached 328 in Mesa County as of Monday, Brown said. While the quarterly report is not due until October, Brown decided this week to take note of the numbers after the economy’s most recent downturn.

“If we keep on this pace, we will be about 10 percent more than we had last year,” he said. “This is the highest we’ve had in several years. With the world situation the way it is right now, it’s pretty scary. When we have a foreclosure, everybody loses, especially the lenders.”

The total number of Mesa County foreclosures reported in 2007 was 394, and in 2006 it was 352.

“Western Colorado is a really strong economy,” Brown said. “So far, we’re dodging the bullet, but who knows? With the situation the way it is, it’s really pretty frightening.”

Borrowers confronted with adjustable rate mortgages coming due, on which they can’t make payments, continue to be the biggest reason for the rise in foreclosures, he said.

He said the local increase in foreclosures is still nothing compared with what the Front Range counties are seeing.

“There’s such a strong economy here due partly to the energy industry,” Brown said. “We’ve got a lot of people that move here to retire. We’re maintaining a good economy. I’m hoping we continue to.” 

Stakes are higher today for those facing foreclosure, said Nancy MacIntosh of Catalyst Lending.

The rising number of foreclosures has led to many of the rules changing, she said.

In years past, people who had filed for foreclosure could become eligible to get an FHA loan or a conventional loan in two years.

That has now changed to five years, MacIntosh said. It’s one of the many rules she has seen change drastically almost daily as it gets harder to sell loans in the securities market, she said.

With the U.S. Treasury’s takeover of bankrupt national mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, rules may continue to change.

The consequences of a foreclosure are going to be far more serious than they were before, MacIntosh said.

“It’s something nobody anticipated and something nobody even talks about,” she said. “Just from what I’ve seen on credit reports and the things that I see coming down regulatory-wise, I would say people should not foreclose.”


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