New foreclosures in Routt County drop 41 percent in first quarter of 2013

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— The declining rate of new real estate foreclosures being filed in Routt County continued through the first quarter of 2013.

Routt County Treasurer and Public Trustee Brita Horn confirmed Monday new filings dropped 41 percent in January, February and March combined compared to the same period in 2012. Thirty-eight new notices of election and demand had been filed through the end of March, putting the county on pace for 152 by year’s end. That compares to 233 in all of 212 and 306 in 2011.

A year ago, 65 NEDs were filed in the first quarter of 2012.

Horn said at this stage in the housing market’s recovery, banks and property owners fully understand what needs to take place.

“I believe we all know where we are are now in this economic climate,” she said. “We need to move on. We can’t just sit and wait indefinitely.”

The sooner distressed property is absorbed, the sooner the local construction economy can begin to think about a recovery, she added.

Realtor Dean Laird of Colorado Group Realty said he closed the sale of a Walton Creek condominium on Friday, which represented the last bank-owned condo on the Steamboat Springs Multiple Listing Service for the moment – there are two more coming up, he noted. Similarly, there is just one bank-owned townhome listed for sale in Steamboat.

He predicts improving prices could stimulate short sales, in which debt holders agree to a sale for a price less than the outstanding loan balance, without going to foreclosure.

“As the market comes up, with the amount of loan closer to market prices, there is less loan deficiency, so we’re more likely to get short sales approved,” Laird said.

Research by Stan Urban of Land Title Guarantee Co. confirms there were 46 sales of bank-owned properties in the first quarter of 2013, including 23 in January. Another 13 closed in February and 10 in March.

The bank sales were propped up in January and February by closings of condominiums from an auction at Trailhead Lodge that took place in December 2012. There were seven Trailhead closings in January and four more in February.

Urban reported that of the 10 bank sales in March, nine were homes and the 10th was a lot at Marabou Ranch that sold for $1.1 million.

Seven of the homes were sold for less than $250,000. The other two sold for $1.25 million and $1.4 million. Two of the homes were within the city limits of Steamboat Springs. Six of the 13 bank sales in February involved homes in Steamboat, including four Trailhead Lodge units but no single-family homes, according to Urban’s research.

The 233 foreclosures filed in 2012 represented a 28 percent drop from 2011.

From 2006 to 2008, Routt County saw fewer than 60 NEDs filed annually and sometimes more than half that number were withdrawn annually, often because the borrowers cured their defaults.

Of the 233 new filings last year, 120 were withdrawn.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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