County foreclosures topped 700 last year |

County foreclosures topped 700 last year

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Garfield County saw a third straight record year for residential and commercial property foreclosure filings in 2011, when the yearly total topped 700 for the first time in history.

Garfield County had 701 foreclosures last year, up from 644 foreclosures in 2010 and 408 in 2009, according to the 2011 year-end report prepared by Garfield County Public Trustee Bob Slade.

The last three years, coming on the heels of the 2008 recession, were the biggest by far for foreclosure filings in more than 30 years of record-keeping in the county. There were 108 foreclosures filed in 2008.

Prior to 2009, the previous record year had been 1985 when there were 244 foreclosures filed in Garfield County. There were far fewer properties listed on the county’s rolls at that time compared to today, following two decades of intense growth in the real estate market.

But the 1985 foreclosure total also culminated three straight years of increases following the 1982 oil shale bust and resulting economic downturn in western Colorado.

It’s possible 2011 may have been the peak year for foreclosures in the latest downturn as well. To date this year, Slade has received 110 foreclosure filings, putting the county on pace for 636 foreclosures by year’s end.

“We’re running at about the same pace as 2010, if you project the numbers out on an annual basis,” Slade said. “We are certainly hoping the numbers will start to go back down.”

Although he did not have a breakdown of residential and commercial properties to go into foreclosure in 2011, the vast majority of foreclosures continue to be residential.

The Rifle area, as determined by zip code, continued to have the most foreclosures of any area in Garfield County in 2011.

The year-end total included 181 in Rifle, 141 in Glenwood Springs, 129 in New Castle, 114 in Carbondale, 70 in Silt and 61 in the Parachute/Battlement Mesa area.

There was a similar distribution of foreclosures in the county for the previous two years as well. Of the foreclosures already opened this year in Garfield County, however, the majority (more than 70) have been in Silt.

Slade said the number of foreclosures progressing all the way to sale is also up, although he did not have specific figures on how many actually went to sale in 2011. Foreclosure proceedings can continue for several months as lenders and borrowers try to work things out.

Most of the properties that are foreclosed on go back to the bank or financial institution that held the loan. The large number of foreclosures has also contributed to a glut of homes on the market in recent years, keeping home values down while lending remains tight.

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