Completed Garfield County foreclosures lag behind filings | AspenTimes.com
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Completed Garfield County foreclosures lag behind filings

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Although completed foreclosures in 2009 dropped 4 percent in Colorado, the number of foreclosures that went to auction in Garfield County for the most part mirrored the increase in filings as a whole.

While the county saw a record 408 foreclosure filings in 2009, up from 108 the previous year, 82 resulted in completed foreclosure sales.

That number is up significantly from 10 completed sales in 2008 and 20 sales in 2007, according to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs Division of Housing 4th Quarter 2009 Foreclosure Report issued Feb. 4.

The number of completed sales in a year is typically somewhat lower than actual foreclosure filings, explained Bob Slade, deputy public trustee for Garfield County.

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“You can’t really tell what happened in 2009 from that, because a lot of those (completed sales) were filed the year before,” he said. “Foreclosure actions can be continued for up to a year, and we’re still working on a lot of 2009 files now.”

The number of foreclosure sales varies from week to week, but Garfield County has been averaging about six or seven per week, Slade said.

“That’s definitely greater than it had been in previous years,” he said. “There are still a lot being continued, too.”

One reason the number of foreclosure sales is somewhat less than the number of filings is that some borrowers have had success in modifying their loans and getting back on track with payments, he added.

Statewide, completed foreclosures in 2009 fell 4 percent from 2008’s totals, and have fallen 18 percent since 2007.

According to the Feb. 4 report, there were 20,437 completed foreclosures in the state during 2009, falling from the 2008 total of 21,306. In 2007, completed foreclosures reached 25,056.

While completed foreclosures fell, new foreclosure filings, which begin the foreclosure process for borrowers, increased 18 percent during 2009. During 2009, foreclosure filings rose to 46,394 from 39,333 in 2008.

Since 2007, in spite of increasing totals in new foreclosure filings, the total proportion of filings that ended in a solution other than foreclosure increased by 51 percent. By 2009, that total had increased to 56 percent. The result has been fewer completed foreclosures even as new foreclosure filings have increased.

“We’re cautiously optimistic that we won’t be seeing the sorts of increases in foreclosures that we saw during 2006 and 2007,” Pat Coyle, a spokesperson with the Colorado Division of Housing, said in a news release.

However, as completed foreclosures fell quickly in the Denver area, foreclosure activity in other areas of the state increased, including on the Western Slope.

Still, foreclosure rates were generally lower. Mesa County reported one completed foreclosure for every 159 households, while Garfield County reported only one completed foreclosure for every 256 households. Foreclosure rates in mountain counties also often reflect foreclosures on second homes and time-shares.

Mesa County reported the largest increase with completed foreclosures growing 223 percent year-over-year to a total of 359.

jstroud@postindependent.com


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