County foreclosures up 23 percent |

County foreclosures up 23 percent

Foreclosures in 2003 increased 23 percent compared to 2002 with the real property foreclosure portion driving what has become a three-year trend.

Foreclosure statistics compiled by the Eagle County Public Trustee show there were 263 foreclosures in 2003 with 111 real property foreclosures and 152 timeshare foreclosures. The real property foreclosure total increased by 40 percent over 2002’s 79 and 2001’s 71.

“I attribute it to the fact that personal bankruptcies are at an all-time high,” said Karen Sheaffer, Eagle County Treasurer. “They’ve gone through the roof since the stock market declined.

That jives with bankruptcy statistics released by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Denver which show there were a record 25,775 bankruptcies filed in 2003 in Colorado. That’s up 17 percent from the previous year when 21,260 were filed. Bankruptcy statistics are not broken down by county.

Sheaffer said the last three years of foreclosures reverses the trend of the booming 1990s when there were less than 100 per year.

“We’re hoping that the foreclosures ease off,” Sheaffer said. “We’ve been hopping all year.”

There are signs that the national economy is recovering ” increased hiring and hard goods orders ” and those have coincided with a boom in real estate sales in Eagle County.

Since August sales of property have been on a record pace after starting the year significantly beneath 2002’s sales levels. November 2003’s sales were 17 percent greater than 2002’s. Properties under contract this month seem to ensure the trend will continue, experts said.

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