Colorado foreclosures drop 16 percent in 2008
Rocky Mountain News
Annual foreclosure activity in Colorado has fallen for the first time since statewide data was first collected in 2003, according to a report released today.
The Colorado Division of Housing report shows there were 16 percent fewer completed foreclosures during 2008 than during 2007, and there were 20 percent fewer completed foreclosures during the fourth quarter of 2008 than during the same period of 2007.
By contrast, from 2006 to 2007, completed foreclosures increased 40 percent.
Foreclosure filings, which signal the beginning of the foreclosure process, were down 2 percent for the full year, and there were 14 percent fewer foreclosure filings during the fourth quarter of 2008 compared with the fourth quarter of 2007.
There were 5,040 new completed foreclosures during the fourth quarter of 2008, bringing the total for the year to 21,301. During 2007, there were 25,320 completed foreclosures.
In the fourth quarter, there were 9,469 new foreclosure filings reported, bringing the yearlong total to 39,307, compared with 39,915 foreclosure filings during 2007.
Sharp drops in Adams, Denver and Arapahoe counties drove the statewide declines in foreclosure activity. Foreclosure growth in the three counties had been significant during 2006 and 2007.
Compared year over year, completed foreclosures dropped 23 percent in Adams County, 14 percent in Denver County and 19 percent in Arapahoe County. During 2007, these counties all reported increases of more than 10 percent.
El Paso County was the one metropolitan Front Range county that reported growth in both foreclosure filings and completed foreclosures.
Completed foreclosures increased 8 percent during 2008 over 2007, and foreclosure filings increased 29 percent during the same period.
“This drop in foreclosure activity provides a little breathing room,” Kathi Williams, director of the Division of Housing, said in a statement. “We still don’t know what effect the recession will have on foreclosure numbers here in Colorado, but we’d rather start the year with some falling numbers than with big increases.”
Experts say there may be several reasons for the drop in the rate of growth in foreclosure filings.
The Colorado Foreclosure Hotline (1-877-601-HOPE) has been in place for two years, and according to hotline records, about 4,200 households during 2008 have been able to avoid foreclosure through the hotline and its member agencies.
“Without the services of the hotline, we might have had to add 4,200 completed foreclosures back into the mix, and that alone would erase that 20 percent decrease we saw in completed foreclosures,” Williams said.
There also have been programs by lenders such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ” foreclosure moratoriums, for example ” that may have also had an effect on completed foreclosures.
Even as growth rates moderate in many areas, high foreclosure rates persist.
The highest rate was found in Adams County, where there was one foreclosure for every 44 households.
In Denver County there was one filing for every 59 households, and one for every 55 households in Weld County. There was one foreclosure for every 79 households in Pueblo County.
The latest data reinforce that high foreclosure rates are somewhat restricted to the Front Range and eastern Colorado.
Counties in western Colorado experienced much lower foreclosure rates. Mesa County reported one foreclosure filing for every 500 households, and La Plata County reported one for every 763. Garfield County reported one for every 2,032 households.
The report, and earlier foreclosure reports, can be accessed online at the Colorado Division of Housing Web Site at http://dola.colorado.gov/cdh/.