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Foreclosures in metro Denver decline 11.8 percent

John RebchookRocky Mountain NewsDenver, CO Colorado

DENVER, COlorado At a time when the country is mired in the worst foreclosure crisis since the Great Depression, the Denver, Colorado area is bucking the trend by seeing the first year- over-year decline in foreclosures in more than a dozen years.There were 24,494 foreclosures filed with public trustee offices in the seven-county Denver area in 2008, an 11.8 percent drop from the record 27,785 filings in 2007.Although 2008 was the second-worst year on record, it is a far cry from the 41.5 percent increase in foreclosures posted in 2007 from 2006.Foreclosures had been rising each year since the mid-1990s, but when the economy was strong in the late 1990s, the increase was smaller than the housing and population growth.”It is possible that Colorado has gone through the worst of its foreclosure cycle,” said Rick Sharga of Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac.RealtyTrac will release its national foreclosure report Thursday, and the numbers will not be pretty.”Nationally, we’re seeing huge increases,” Sharga said.Mike Rinner of the Genesis Group, which tracks housing along the Front Range, said the Denver area, which suffered from rising foreclosures longer than the rest of the country, is coming out faster than most of the nation.”I think it is a sign of times,” Rinner said. “I think the market is ready to start on the upward track. But I think it is going to be a long slog.”Neither Sharga, Rinner nor anyone else is saying the foreclosure crisis in the Denver area is over.”I think the decline in foreclosure filings is attributed to a few things, not any one thing,” said Carol Snyder, public trustee for Adams County.She pointed to lenders “putting a hiatus” on new foreclosures at least temporarily. Lenders are more willing to work with borrowers to avoid foreclosures through things such as short sales, where the lender accepts less than the loan amount. And more affluent homeowners now are running into problems making mortgage payments, while in the past it was primarily low-income people who had few alternatives other than foreclosure.”I think the decrease in the number of filings has been somewhat of a blip to the extent that when the hiatus goes away, we could be dumped with a higher number of foreclosures again,” Snyder said.Sharga also pointed to the success of the nonprofit Colorado Foreclosure Hotline.Spokesman Ryan McMaken said that at least 9,000 homeowners have avoided foreclosure because of the hotline during the past two years.”If we simply added those people back in, we would have seen another record year,” McMaken said.”Our hotline data is showing that people are calling sooner than they used to,” McMaken said. “They used to call when they were three months or more behind, while now a larger percentage are calling when they are still current on their payments.”Shannon Peer of Brothers Redevelopment, which runs the hotline, said that “obviously, there is no reason to send my counselors packing,” because of the drop in foreclosure filings. “But any indication that we might see some start or signal in a retreat in (foreclosures) is good news.”Peer said that the number of calls to the hotline has more than doubled from a year ago.Sheila Smith of Your Short Sale Solutions works with lenders and homeowners to keep people out of foreclosure.”Lenders are working with homeowners more with options like short sales, interest rate modifications and even principal reductions,” Smith said.Denver County showed the biggest decrease in foreclosure filings last year, both in total numbers and as a percentage drop.It had 6,145 filings in 2007, a 25 percent drop from the 8,240 in 2007.Denver City Councilman Michael Hancock, who in 2007 launched a Foreclosure Task Force, said he thinks the drop in foreclosures may be because many people who had the riskiest mortgages have worked their way through the system.”That is tremendous news, but we’re not out of the woods yet,” Hancock said. “Now my biggest concern is that people who have safe fixed-rate loans and good credit may lose their homes if they lose their jobs.”Subscribe to the Rocky Mountain NewsShare * Del.icio.us * digg * newsvine * facebook * redditWhat is this?Comments * January 14, 2009 5:14 a.m. Suggest removal windbourne writes: Just wait. Many ppl will be out of work over this next year. As that happens, then we will see our forclosures jump. My bet is that this will happen by end of summer. * January 14, 2009 5:41 a.m. Suggest removal DakotaPlainsman writes: The foreclosure crisis is the product of our system encouraging a high number of unqualified buyers to get in over their heads, and people not having enough discipline to resist. The same people who are unqualified are the ones that lack discipline and good judgement. Life is tough. It’s even tougher for dumb people. There are still many get rich quick ads on the radio, and credit “solutions” trying to fleece these dumb people again. I hope the lending standards increase dramatically. Making home ownership a very difficult thing to achieve. Undisciplined people with poor judgement make poor neighbors. The house next door went into foreclosure because the people living there lacked the decision making ability to be a home owner. I hope the next owner is smarter and better prepared for the responsiblities of home ownership. * January 14, 2009 6:18 a.m. Suggest removal RMThunder writes: DakotaPlainsman – I couldn’t agree with you more. It will get much worse stating 2nd qtr of this year. The US foreclosure projections for 2009 are 8 million that is 22,000 a day 7 days a week. The current running rate is at 11,000 a day nationwide. This entire housing crisis is a spawn from The Community Reinvestment Act. I’ve been in mortgage for 13yrs – and several of us saw this coming 4+ yrs ago. It was eniviatble. * January 14, 2009 6:58 a.m. Suggest removal Bmac writes: The banks are “supposed” to be working with borrowers on modifications of their loans. However, this is just lip service. The “modifications” they propose are not helping the borrowers in any way, and in many cases just prolonging the inevitable. The banks are doing this to comply with the govt., but in reality they are just waiting for their bailouts. I believe there will be a lot more foreclosures in the next year or two. * January 14, 2009 8:22 a.m. Suggest removal jamesk writes: Or it could just be that the sky isn’t falling and the media is once again over-hyping a problem and making it sound much worse than it really is. Of course there are a lot of foreclosures, the media hype doesn’t mean there aren’t. But it’s amazing that one good story about foreclosures declining is brushed aside as rubbish. Will be interesting to see how the media and newspapers, in particular, report on economic news after January 20. I’m sure it won’t be quite the dire situation, miraculously. * January 14, 2009 8:32 a.m. Suggest removal leavemealone writes: Colorado has turned the corner on foreclosures as of March 2008. Colorado foreclosures started in 2001 so we’re way ahead of the nation as a whole. Our recovery has begun! * January 14, 2009 8:53 a.m. Suggest removal BikerChick writes: .. BEWARE OF SNAKE-OIL SALESMEN .. Pie-in-the-sky optimism from pink-painted folks who have a vested interest is to be considered with many grains of salt. Most experts agree that we are in month-14 of a 42 month recession-depression. Dire emergency. Colorado is NOT saved-harmless. Soon we will see governments in bankruptcy. The private home numbers are most impacted by emotional actions, the calendar (think Spring spurt) and government intervention. THE INFLATED 2006 MARKET PEAK ADJUSTMENT CONTINUES IN EARNEST TODAY. Foreclosures in Nov and Dec were drastically reduced by government directed compassion. Guess what ? The latent actions are now flooding the bankers, who are working 24/7 – yes, in Colorado too. Best advice; the slide will continue through 2012. 2006 prices will reappear in 2017. Buying and selling today is taking a huge and unnecessary risk. There are twenty million felony-fraud mortgages out there, of which 400,000 are in Colorado. Old-school views are totally inappropriate just now. Until that mess is cleaned up, and certain folks are imprisoned (to set the proper example), recovery is a pipe-dream. WE MUST NOT BAIL-OUT DUMB FOLKS ON BOTH SIDES OF THOSE CONTRACTS. Extreme caution is advised. Beware of those who say otherwise. .. * January 14, 2009 9:06 a.m. Suggest removal underthebusinvestments writes: Wow! The current data matches this trend perfectly: http://www.thetruthaboutmortgage.com/… Remember, that crystal ball you are looking at is really the hood ornament of the bus! “I see treadmarks in your future…” -The Bus Driver * January 14, 2009 9:10 a.m. Suggest removal RMThunder writes: leavemealone – CO has not turned the corner on foreclosures – CO entered into the foreclosure market earlier than most states. AZ, CA, NV and FL all are in a similar boat as CO. However, with the neg ams, IO loans, etc. about to go adjustable within the next 16 months, none of these states, including CO, will be exempt from the volume of foreclosures. * January 14, 2009 9:13 a.m. Suggest removal RMThunder writes: Bmac – you’re right. These lenders are essentially kicking the can down the road… * January 14, 2009 9:14 a.m. Suggest removal c4l2a0 writes: My guess is that the outflow of illegal aliens from Denver has increased by at least 10%.Post your commentRegistration is required. Click here to create your free user account, or login below.Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. 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RockyTalk LivePhotosMore photos * Featured Slide Show * Latest Slide ShowsDay in photos – Jan. 13, 2009Day in photos – Jan. 13, 2009 * Nuggets 99, Mavericks 97 – Jan. 13, 2009 * Day in photos – Jan. 13, 2009 * Blue Jackets 4, Avalanche 3 * Nolan named Broncos’ defensive coordinator * Annual stock show parade – Jan. 13, 2009 * Most Viewed * Most Emailed * Most Discussed * It’s official: Nolan is Broncos’ defensive coordinator * McDaniels hires Nolan, begins talks on assembling a new Broncos staff * LINCICOME: Oh, boy, Broncos made a risky move * Nuggets top Mavericks 99-97 * Broncos give Bates OK to talk with Raiders * Australia offers ‘best job’ in world: lounge in paradise for $100,000 * Hirschfeld printing dynasty stops the presses * Shane Co. files for Chapter 11 after dismal holiday season * MASSARO: For 18 years, Cafe Jordano owner proudly tied to her apron strings * Foreclosures in metro Denver decline 11.8 percent * Shane Co. puts blame partly on software * DPS grads face remedial work * Xcel seeks bids on world’s biggest solar project * McDaniels’ choice of Nolan to rebuild Broncos defense ‘great hire’ 84 * Aurora council advances same-sex benefits plan 73 * GLATZ: Pushing Palestinians out of the lifeboat 69 * Bill would require hands-free cell phones while driving 99 * Path to socialism 57 * Lets try capitalism for a change 172 * Dad’s mournful plea assists carbon monoxide detector bill 33 * Nov. sales tax slump casts cloud over city 26News TipKnow about something we should be reporting? 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