EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado - The worst of the wave of foreclosures to hit the Eagle County and rest of the state the last few years appears to be behind us, according to a report from the Colorado Division of Housing. January's foreclosures across Colorado were close to their lowest number in seven years, according to that report.
Eagle County's numbers are also down, says Karla Bagley, Eagle County's public trustee.
Eagle County ended 2012 with 455 foreclosures, well behind the 618 foreclosures in 2010 and 2011, Bagley said.
"Those lower numbers seem to be holding," Bagley said.
So far this year, her office has seen only 38 new foreclosures filed, compared to 85 at the same time last year.
Right now they have 225 active foreclosures, down from 350-400 at this time over the last two years, Bagley said.
Across Colorado, January's foreclosure filings were down from January 2012 by almost 25 percent in the state. January saw 1,456 foreclosure filings, down from 1,936 the year before, a 24.9 percent reduction.
January's foreclosure sales were down 19.1 percent compared to January 2012, 1,150 to 930, the Division of Housing reported.
Foreclosure filings begin the foreclosure process, when homeowners fall behind on their payments and banks begin the legal process of retaking the house. Foreclosure auction sales end the foreclosure process. Locally, they're handled by the Eagle County Public Trustee's office.
In Eagle County this week, 43 properties were scheduled to go to foreclosure auction, but only four did.
Ryan McMaken, spokesman for the Colorado Division of Housing, said foreclosure sales are withdrawn or postponed for a variety of reasons. Homeowners might get caught up on payments, they may have enrolled in a federal programs to help them catch up, they might have deeded the property over to the lender and walked away, they might have sold it as a short sale - selling the property for less than is owed - or they might have gotten lucky and unloaded the house through a regular sale, he said.
Foreclosure filings peaked in mid-2009, following widespread job losses beginning in late 2008. Foreclosure auction sales peaked a year later, in 2010, as Coloradans worked through the process.
The rate of foreclosure filings dropped between January 2011 and July 2011, and has remained generally flat since then. Foreclosure sales activity has been falling since late 2011.
It's simple supply and demand, McMaken said. Colorado's population continues to grow and those people need places to live.
"People continue to move here. That's our saving grace. Polls show that young people keep coming here," McMaken said.
Those young people tend to get together and create new households. Since 2007, when new building started to decline, Coloradans formed about 66,000 more households than housing units built over that time, according to Census data.
It's also true locally. Eagle County real estate data indicates that average sales are once again outpacing inventory. We crossed that threshold late in the second quarter of 2012, according to the Vail Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service data.
Across Colorado, over the 12-month period ending in January, foreclosure filings were down 8.7 percent to 23,074 filings, down from 25,280 filings during the 12-month period ending January 2012.
Foreclosure auction sales were down 19.5 percent to 12,463 for the 12-month period ending in January, falling from 15,473 sales during the period ending January 2012.
Filings rose 0.8 percent from December 2012 to January 2013, and auction sales were up 17.7 percent over the same period.
Pueblo County reported Colorado's highest foreclosure rate during January, while Boulder County reported the lowest rate.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.