New foreclosures wane in Routt since last quarter of 2012

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— Routt County hasn’t worked through all of the home foreclosure fallout that resulted from the real estate reversal of late 2008, but there are signs a corner has been turned.

The number of new foreclosure filings here in the fourth quarter of 2012 fell to less than half of what they were during the same period in 2011, according to public trustee Brita Horn. And those 42 notices of election and demand were the lowest fourth-quarter numbers since 2008. There were 86 new filings in the fourth quarter of 2011.

January can be a busy month for new filings, but the first two months of 2013 have continued to reflect the moderating trend, with 27 new notices of election and demand filed to date.

Horn said she isn’t sensing the same amount of urgency on the part of note holders that she did in December.

“I looked up those same dates from last year, and there were 37 (new notices of election and demand in January/February 2012). I’m seeing a change in a mindset. Everybody’s saying, 'This is the time frame. We’re not in recession any longer, but we’re working through it.'”

Moffat County, without Routt’s large share of vacation homes, is tracking differently.

Teresa Smith, who handles foreclosure filings in the office of Moffat County Treasurer and public trustee Elaine Sullivan, said notices of election and demand essentially were flat in 2012 at 93 compared with 92 in 2011. New foreclosure filings in Moffat County might have peaked with 107 in 2010 (they totaled 77 in 2009). Through Friday, they were up slightly to 19 compared with 15 through the first two months of 2012.

“They usually hit hard in January. I had 11 in January,” Smith said.

In Routt County, the 233 new foreclosure filings in 2012 was a big number compared with five years ago even though that figure represents a significant decline from the peak of 306 in 2011. In all of 2008, Routt County saw just 55 new foreclosure filings, and that number was pretty typical of the previous decade, former public trustee Jeanne Whiddon previously told the Steamboat Today. The number jumped to 195 in 2009 and then made another big jump to 303 in 2010.

Not all properties that come under a notice of election and demand are returned to the bank or sold to a third party. Some owners cure their loan deficiencies. Others filings do not show up as final foreclosure sales because the owners file for bankruptcy, Horn said. In 2011, 139 foreclosures were withdrawn, and that number was 120 last year.

It’s also the case that it can take months, sometimes more than a year, before a property under a notice of election and demand finally is auctioned or returned to the bank and hits the real estate market.

Realtor Doug Labor — of Buyer’s Resource Real Estate, who tracks data for the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors — said Friday that there are just 19 bank-owned residential properties listed for sale on the Steamboat Springs Multiple Listing Service. There also were 24 bank-owned parcels of land listed and 10 commercial buildings. The complete number of bank-owned properties might be higher than 53, but the 19 foreclosed homes currently on the MLS compares favorably to the 49 at the end of February 2012. And the low number of listings relative to annual notices of election and demand might reflect how quickly bank-owned properties are being absorbed.

Labor said the gap between the trend lines of listings compared with sales was narrowing substantially at the end of 2012 and could be nearing a state of equilibrium by the end of 2013. That would be a sign of a healthier real estate market, he said.

Stan Urban, of Land Title Guarantee Co., reported last month that the 187 sales of bank-owned properties (more than just those on the MLS) in 2012 represented 16 percent of total transaction volume of 1,176.

The 187 bank sales averaged $323,031 and totaled $60.4 million.

Foreclosure filings in Routt County, 2006 to 2012

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

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