Saturday, October 5, 2002
Steamboat Springs The number of foreclosures filed in Routt County are on the rise again this year.
With 43 foreclosures and three more months before the end of the year, County Treasurer Jeanne Whiddon, who records foreclosures for the county, said the number of foreclosures is on track to surpass last year's 50 foreclosures.
"We should have more than 50 easy," Whiddon said. "This will continue for several months to come. It may even extend into next year."
The number of foreclosures doubled in 2001, jumping from 22 in 2000 to 50. From 1995 to 2000, the number of foreclosures each year ranged from 13 to 25.
Although Whiddon said last year and this year are abnormally high, she said it is not the highest number the county has seen in a year. She points to the early 1980's where foreclosures reached more than 100 in one year.
This year's dollar figure in foreclosures is already far ahead of last year, with $47.6 million compared to $5 million.
Most of this year's amount is the $41 million foreclosure filed Sept. 27 by Fleet National Bank on the 44-acre Tennis Meadow0s Complex owned by American Skiing Company Resort Properties, a subsidiary of American Skiing Co. But even if that foreclosure is taken out of the total, this year is still $2 million ahead of the 2001 total.
Nearly half of 43 foreclosures filed are timeshares. The unpaid principals on these properties range from $3,600 to $20,000. Whiddon said in a time of economic decline, the $300 to $400 per month that families might spend on timeshares is needed to put toward the $2,000 mortgage payments on houses.
"There are a small number of people, who have made stupid mistakes, who should have never bought timeshares," she said.
But, Whiddon also noted there have been several foreclosures on higher valued properties as well.
This year foreclosure notices have been filed on nine residential properties ranging in value between $300,000 and $1 million. Last year, just one residential property valued at more than $300,000 went to foreclosure.
"There are people who own property in Routt County who are over extended," Whiddon said. "Just because you can borrow a lot of money, doesn't mean you should."
The $1 million home that foreclosed was built in Steamboat's Sanctuary development as a speculative home and received little interest, she said.
Just because a lending institution that holds a note on a piece of property begins foreclosure, does not mean the property owner will lose that property. If a property owner is able to arrange new financing or restructure financing to preserve ownership, the foreclosure can be withdrawn.
If that does not occur, the county sells the property and the owner loses it. Although third parties are welcomed in the sale of the property, almost always, the successful bidder is the institution holding the note on the property. And in most cases there is not a third-party buyer.
Up until 2000, the majority of foreclosure proceedings ended with withdraws. In fact, just four of the 22 were sold two years ago. But the number of sales from foreclosures jumped in 2001 and 2002.
At the end of 2001, seven residential properties and nine timeshares had sold, 17 properties had been withdrawn and 17 were pending.
This year, nine residential units and 18 timeshares have sold as a result of foreclosure. Seven properties are still pending.