In 2010, there were 303 foreclosure fillings in Routt County. About 50 of those were withdrawn or resolved. This year hasn’t started off any better with 40 notices on the books, which is a record for January.

Photo by John F. Russell

In 2010, there were 303 foreclosure fillings in Routt County. About 50 of those were withdrawn or resolved. This year hasn’t started off any better with 40 notices on the books, which is a record for January.

Foreclosures still mounting in Steamboat

Filings reach record high as location-neutral buyers, retirees return to market


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2010 distressed sales percentage in Steamboat Springs Source: Jon Wade, Colorado Group Realty

— Jon Wade, of Colorado Group Realty, told an audience at a business outlook breakfast last week that an increased number of foreclosures seems inevitable in 2011, but he also pointed out some more encouraging signs in Steam­boat Springs’ housing market.

“Distressed properties will continue to define the market,” Wade said. “It will continue to consolidate, and short sales and foreclosures will increase significantly. It’s not pleasant, but the sooner we work through them, the better values will be — the longer foreclosures go on, the lower values will go.”

His concerns about foreclosures were backed up by the latest statistics available from county government.

Routt County Public Trustee Jeanne Whiddon said she expects January foreclosure filings, called notices of election and demand, to reach 43 by the end of the month, a record for the first month of the year. Already, she has 40 in the books.

There were 303 notices in 2010 (with about 50 withdrawn or resolved), a record for Routt County.

In spite of those sobering numbers, Wade said, he’s showing properties to an increasing number of location-neutral professionals and people getting ready to retire who have reached the conclusion it’s time to buy.

“Buyers have been saying that to me for the last few months, and that is a big change.

“People want to retire here for our lifestyle, our hospital and because their family wants to visit them here,” Wade said. “Only so much more can be built here, and there’s little appetite to grow.”

Custom home construction could see a modest rebound in 2011, Wade predicted.

“Custom building will turn on a little faster than most expect as land prices adjust and people moving here start to have a hard time finding what they are looking for,” Wade said. “It won’t be big, but the best builders will start to see more work. Building prices won’t get significantly lower than they are now.”

Wade said he doesn’t see multifamily projects coming back for at least three to five years, in part because even developers with plans on the books would be likely to go back through the city planning process to redesign their buildings to fit market conditions.

Swimming underwater

Wade said he thinks some home sales recorded in the fourth quarter 2010 will push more homeowners toward foreclosure. As an example, he cited the recent sale of a 1,500-square-foot original Stagecoach townhome for about $70,000. He knows about a second, in better condition, that is due to close for a similar amount.

“What happened late last year put a lot more people underwater” in their homes, meaning their homes now are worth significantly less than what they paid for them, Wade said. “Some people have been hanging on with reduced employment. Some of them are going to start walking away from their homes. At some point, you have to move beyond it. This summer will be very telling.”

The Stagecoach townhomes that got Wade’s attention sold in the $80,000 range in the 1980s and peaked at $262,000 in 2008, he said.


kathy foos 6 years, 2 months ago

Where is the safety net to help these distressed home owners?There are solutions for some.I hate to see people(buyers) taking advantage of unemployed workers who cannot meet obligations for their homes,because of lack of work.If there wasn't so many Visa workers ,the people that need work could have those jobs.It seems like the employers are controlling the loss of homes and jobs for locals.Also the medical facilitys for those visa workers are a cost to all.The employers save money paying taxes and unemployment, at the cost of the american citizens quality of life.An article stated that employers are still hiring construction workers from south of the border over out of work citizens.With unemployment at over 10 percent in Routt county,why are there so many here?I have seen alot of locals working for the ski area and Im hoping that this starts a trend to get our jobs back in this valley. I have a home that I couldnt afford and rented it out to someone that has a better job,living in a much cheaper home for now. The banks not loaning anything out (for construction etc.)is just strangling everything.Alternate lending institutions need to be developed,don't go back to banks,even when they actually want us too.I'll never forget how toxic they have been in this economy. Since the government approves these Visa workers as extra,they should monitor how fairly the employers are applying the law in the real world.They should have to prove the need for the workers that they bring into this valley.Employers really need to answer up,they dont seem to stop this import of workers on their own so......Some one has to stop rogue employers.The labor department needs to go to personnel department's and look at the records,be accountable for those workers in stead of a free pass ,unfettered.Its so sad to know that the very business's we spend our money at,could do this to locals.Our taxes maintain the infrastructure that those Visa workers and employer's enjoy.Stop the Visa worker program untill they can prove that they are needed.If we need more workers ,advertise to out of work Americans in other locations ,so that we keep the money that is earned in this economy and not sent elsewhere.Give the housing opportunities to American workers as you would Visa workers.


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