Foreclosures jump in Garfield County |

Foreclosures jump in Garfield County

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. ” Garfield County officials project foreclosures in 2009 could reach their highest level since 1985.

Based on activity this year so far, public trustee Bob Slade projects 209 foreclosure proceedings will be opened in 2009. There were 108 last year. Foreclosures in recent history hit their peak at 244 in 1985.

But county Treasurer Georgia Chamberlain told Garfield County commissioners Monday that “there may be an aberration in the numbers” because of a recently lifted moratorium initiated by mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

“We’re hoping that it is just the backlog catching up,” she said.

In an interview later in the day, Chamberlain said lenders that had been holding off during the moratorium may now be inflating the number of foreclosure proceedings opening after the moratorium was lifted in late January.

Nonetheless, Chamberlain added, “I think that foreclosures are on the increase. They may not go as high as predicted, but they will definitely be higher than last year.”

The majority of foreclosures are withdrawn before they’re completed.

Chamberlain attributed the growing foreclosures to the tough economic times and people losing their jobs or working fewer hours. People in construction and real estate had benefited from those thriving markets, but Chamberlain said those business sectors have “dropped dramatically.”

“People don’t have jobs to pay for their mortgages,” she said.

Nationally, the U.S. is experiencing record low new home sales and increasing losses from foreclosures.

In Garfield County, Rifle had the highest number of foreclosures, carrying 31 percent of the county’s total. Carbondale had the lowest share with 6 percent of the county’s total foreclosures. In terms of the dollar amounts involved in foreclosures, Rifle also had the most with 26 percent. Carbondale and Parachute were at the low end with 11 percent each.

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