Eagle County sees signs of improving economy
Ryan Summerlin September 3, 2013
According to a report from the Eagle County Public Trustee office Aug. 13, the county is showing signs of economic recovery.
“We sent out almost 1,000 fewer delinquent property tax notices this year than in the past,” said Eagle County Treasurer Karen Sheaffer in a meeting with commissioners. “Our outstanding tax revenue is $6.7 million. Last year it was more than $9 million. We feel like we’re going to have a very good tax collection year.”
Sheaffer said she thinks it is a sign the county’s economy is rebounding.
“I’m sure it helps to a certain extent that taxes are going down [from lower property assessments] – but we’re on a good path,” she said. “I think these are good signs in the economy.”
Chief Deputy Trustee Karla Bagley said new foreclosure filings are down 50 percent from this time last year.
“At the end of June last year there were 51 foreclosure filings and at the end of June this year there were 11,” she said. “That’s a huge, huge difference. I would expect the end of the year to be a lot different than last year and the same holds true for foreclosure sales.”
Through the second quarter of 2011 and 2012, there were 192 and 195 foreclosure sales, respectively. This year, there were 84.
At the end of July, the county had 148 active foreclosures, down from the 189 active cases the county had at the beginning of May.
“I keep hearing from borrowers that the loan modification process is loosening up, that it’s becoming a little bit easier,” she said. “I don’t know for sure but we hear it enough that I think it probably has some truth to it.”
According to the Colorado Division of Housing, foreclosure filings were down just over 50 percent in the state’s metro counties.
“The state expects that trend to continue,” Bagley said. “Garfield County is way down, just like we are, and everybody thinks that is going to continue.”
Commissioner Jill Ryan asked if that trend might be because so many people have already lost their homes to foreclosure since the start of the recession that there are simply that many fewer homes that could be lost to foreclosure.
“Or is it really a sign that the economy is improving?” Ryan asked.
Bagley said she thinks it’s a combination of the two factors and that investors are a sign of an improving economy.
“I do think a number of the foreclosures have gone through the process – the number of people who were going to lose property have – but almost every week there are investors bidding at foreclosure sales, and they don’t bid unless they think it’s worth it,” she said. “They wouldn’t be investing if there wasn’t some equity there.”