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Eagle County averaging a foreclosure a day

Chris Outcalt
coutcalt@vaildaily.com
Eagle County, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” In October, 2008 looked like a slow year for foreclosures in Eagle County. Then November hit. It’s been busier than usual ever since.

“We were headed for our lowest foreclosure year,” said County Treasurer Karen Shaeffer. “It looked like we were going to have fewer foreclosures than in 2007, and 2007 was the lowest we’ve had in a long time.”

Shaeffer’s office has been averaging about one foreclosure a day for the last three months.



“It takes a while until you realize that they’re coming in faster,” Shaeffer said. “But that trend hasn’t quit yet.”

There have been 39 foreclosures in the county this year. And they aren’t isolated to one type of home, Shaeffer said.

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“It’s the high end, it’s the low end,” Shaeffer said. “It’s pretty much across the board.”

The county didn’t have half as many foreclosures at this time a year ago, said county fiscal technician Christina Moses.

“It’s been high,” said Moses, who had three more foreclosures in front of her Monday that needed to be recorded.



Although the foreclosure rates are higher, they’re far from what local lender Chris Neuswanger would call a disaster.

“It’s still fairly minuscule compared to the rest of the country,” said Neuswanger, who works at Marco Financial Group in Avon. “When you get into some of the areas such as Southern California, Florida and Nevada, it’s as much as 2 percent of the properties.”

If foreclosures kept the pace they’re at now, the county would be around 350 for 2009. The total would have to be closer to 550 before it started to significantly affect the market values of local homes, Neuswanger said.

“We’d have to see an enormous increase even from what we’re seeing to approach that,” he said. “Historically, I think the market can handle what’s coming out without an adverse impact.”

And just because properties are foreclosed upon doesn’t mean they will end up on the market, Neuswanger said. A majority of the foreclosed properties are dealt with before being put up for public sale.

Meanwhile, Summit County hasn’t seen the same increase in foreclosures.

“It hasn’t picked up that much,” said County Treasurer Bill Wallace.

The county’s foreclosure numbers decreased in the last part of 2008, and there have only been 20 foreclosures in Summit County so far this year. But more homes worth more than $1 million have started to foreclose in the county, Wallace said.

“It tells me that people can’t afford their second homes,” he said.

The foreclosure numbers themselves don’t tell the entire story, said Don Cohen, executive director of the Economic Council of Eagle County. One of the things that immediately stood out to Cohen about the county foreclosure list is that there are a lot of timeshares.

“Timeshares may be indicative of a softening or an economic problem in general, but it has nothing to do with the reality of housing here,” he said.

Eleven of the 39 foreclosures so far this year have been timeshares, according to Neuswanger.

“This is an important thing for us to start watching, and we’re going to,” Cohen said. “I don’t think that right now the fire is burning across the roadway.”

Staff Writer Chris Outcalt can be reached at 970-748-2931 or coutcalt@vaildaily.com.


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