Mesa County 
foreclosures 
down, still high

Mesa County foreclosure figures are down so far this year. But with many Front Range counties having a head start in economic improvement, the county still managed to record the highest foreclosure rate among Colorado’s 12 most-populous counties last month.

One out of every 940 households in Mesa County completed the foreclosure process in May, according to data released Wednesday by the Colorado Division of Housing. Pueblo County had the next-highest rate among metro counties with one in every 1,221 households completing foreclosure in May.

Foreclosure rates have been on the mend in Front Range counties, particularly those in the Denver metropolitan area and northern Colorado, since their employment numbers began to improve a few years ago and more people could afford to pay their mortgages, according to Colorado Division of Housing spokesman Ryan McMaken.

Many Front Range counties experienced a foreclosure free-fall between 2004 and 2009, he said, the year Mesa County’s unemployment and foreclosure rates began to suffer.

With the unemployment rate improving but still above 8 percent in Mesa County, Bob Reece, president of Advanced Title Company in Grand Junction, predicted it may be 18 to 24 months before Mesa County starts seeing stability reminiscent of what the Front Range has now.

He said there’s plenty to celebrate now. “We certainly have taken a good trend the last six to seven months in foreclosures. It’s a precursor to a more stable market,” he said.

Foreclosure filings in Mesa County decreased 31 percent year-over-year in May to 73 and the number of completed foreclosures dipped 9 percent to 62 last month, according to the Division of Housing.

Year-to-date numbers were down as well, with a 43 percent drop in filings in the first five months of 2013 compared to the first five months of 2012 in Mesa County. Completed foreclosures dropped 22 percent using the same time frame.

Month-to-month numbers weren’t as positive. Foreclosure filings increased from 58 in April to 73 in May in Mesa County and the number of completed foreclosures in the county increased from 55 in April to 62 in May.

Mesa County Public Trustee Mike Moran said that difference is likely due to filings being counted on Fridays. There were five Fridays in May and four in April.

McMaken said other metropolitan counties count on a daily basis.

“Statistically, I would not see that as a bump at all,” Moran said. Moran predicted Mesa County will have half the foreclosures in 2013 that it had in 2012 by the time the year is up. That optimism is due in part to positive numbers in June.

“Last week for one week we were at old levels,” he said. “We’ve had about 15 new foreclosures on average per week. Last week, we had seven.”

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