Eagle Co foreclosures flat | VailDaily.com

Eagle Co foreclosures flat

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” The county has mostly escaped the foreclosure crisis that has affected much of the rest of the country, real estate and financial experts said.

The number of foreclosures in the county are about on track with last year, said Eagle County Public Trustee Karla Herridge.

There have been 112 foreclosures filed in Eagle County so far this year. There were a total of 140 foreclosures in 2007 and 197 in 2006.

Time shares usually make up almost 60 percent of the foreclosures in the county, but this year time shares have only made up about a third.

“It’s been more foreclosures on real properties this year,” Herridge said.

Foreclosures on time shares can be more common because people often buy them at high-pressure sales pitches, and the owners are often younger people. Other times the foreclosures are results of a divorce, Herridge said.

Chris Neuswanger, a loan officer at Macro Financial Group, said he has noticed a similar trend.

“(Foreclosures) are up a little bit,” he said. “But it hasn’t been impacting us as much. When you compare us to other parts of the country, it’s minuscule.”

While in other markets, foreclosures can bring down other property values in the neighborhood, that hasn’t been the case in Eagle County, Neuswanger said.

The limited numbers of foreclosures won’t affect surrounding home values too much as long as they are sold at the market price and aren’t for-sale for too long, he said.

The mountain resort counties tend to stay strong while foreclosures hit elsewhere, Herridge said.

Summit County hasn’t seen an increase in foreclosures either ” in the fact the numbers are slightly lower compared to September of last year, said Bill Wallace, the county’s public trustee and treasurer.

“I still get people calling and trying to get a good deal (on a foreclosed home),” he said. “But it didn’t exist before up here, and it still doesn’t exist.”

A look at the treasurer’s foreclosure data reveals an unexpectedly broad range of homeowners in trouble. The homes listed for foreclosure range from middle-range properties to high-end homes in Vail or Cordillera.

Gretchen Scheibe, who formerly worked for a local real estate broker, said she’s concerned that many of these homeowners, especially second-home owners, might not know their homes are under foreclosure.

Often the notices are sent to the address of the homes undergoing foreclosure, and in some cases, records show that mail has been returned from a home multiple times.

Scheibe said she’s known at least one second-home owner in the county who simply lost track of the home payments. The notices were being sent to the home’s physical address, and the owner had no idea their home was undergoing foreclosure.

“At a minimum, that’s very troubling, especially in a place where a majority of areas don’t have mail service to physical addresses,” Scheibe said.

Herridge admitted that kind of mistake can happen, but that the Treasurer’s Office can only go by the address provided.

The Treasurer’s Office is required try and contact the last known address of the home owners, send mail notices at least twice, and to publish notices of foreclosures for five weeks in the newspaper, Herridge said.

While there has been a lot of talk about foreclosures, slowing sales and a dead real estate market, Neuswanger said he doesn’t think Eagle County is in too much trouble.

He said he has seen a “slow down” in the down valley home market, but isn’t too worried.

“There’s nothing I would call a ‘declining’ market here,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll dodge the bullet. My sense is that things are solidifying.”

According to a recent Land Title Guarantee report, it’s been a good summer for property sales in the county, especially multi-million dollar sales.

July had the highest dollar volume sales of any month so far in 2008, and sales were higher than any other July on record, according to the report.

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.

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