Foreclosures plaguing midvalley real estate |

Foreclosures plaguing midvalley real estate

The foreclosures that are plaguing the recovery of the midvalley real estate market are on pace to match last year’s record levels in the middle and lower Roaring Fork Valley.

There were 85 home foreclosures in the Eagle County portion of the Roaring Fork Valley last year. There were 44 through the first half of this year, according to research of public documents by Garret Brandt, a real estate agent with the Fleisher Co.

In Garfield County, there were 179 foreclosures of homes in the Glenwood Springs and Carbondale zip codes last year. There have been 94 so far this year, Brandt’s research shows.

When banks foreclose, they generally are seeking quick sales of the houses, often closing deals at prices less than what they are owed. The threat of foreclosure also is forcing some sellers into short sales, where they take what they can get, usually less than what they owe.

The number of foreclosures in the middle and lower valley has been a strong influence on prices dropping over the last two years, real estate agents said.

“Low prices are fueling strong sales activity increases,” Andrew Ernemann, a real estate agent for B.J. Adams and Co., recently wrote in his 2011 semiannual real estate report. “Inventory levels are dropping. Challenges still remain with a number of short sale and bank-owned properties on the market.”

Even with the inventory dropping, prices haven’t stabilized in the lower valley. Savvy buyers have started pouncing on bargains. “This will likely lead to a ‘bottom’ being established for prices within the next three to six months,” Ernemann’s report said.

There have been 22 sales of single-family homes in the Basalt area in 2011 through June. Another 12 sales are pending. There were 29 sales all last year. However, the average sold price fell from $782,787 last year to $693,187 this year, Ernemann’s research showed.

Garfield and Eagle County records hint that the pace of foreclosures is slowing, which could help stabilize prices. Foreclosures in Glenwood Springs and Carbondale were up 67 percent in the first quarter but down 51 percent in the second quarter compared to the same periods last year, Brandt noted.

In the Eagle County portion of the valley, foreclosures were up 24 percent in the first quarter but down 8 percent in the second quarter, according to Brandt’s report.

Foreclosures in Pitkin County are running ahead of historical averages but well behind last year’s pace. There were 144 foreclosures last year. There were 59 through the first half of 2011, Brandt’s research showed. Foreclosures in Pitkin County fell in both the first and second quarters compared to the same periods in 2010.

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