Local housing foreclosure rates, now low, may see increases
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. For homeowners, a positive thing about being in a high-demand housing market like Garfield County is foreclosure is usually the last option.”The demand for housing is what is driving the market and keeping foreclosure levels down right now,” said Garfield County Public Trustee Bob Slade. “(Garfield County) typically lags behind what a lot of other areas are doing.”Colorado has seen 19,460 foreclosures for the first six months of 2007. Garfield County contributed 54 foreclosures, according to Slade. Of those 54, 25 have been withdrawn or are pending a withdraw notice by the owner, and only eight have gone to sale to date this year, with three of those in redemption by the owner.”The numbers have declined over last year,” Slade said.Last year the Trustee’s Office recorded 96 homes in foreclosure, but of those, 60 were withdrawn.Slade indicated the demand for housing countywide contributes to the low foreclosure rate because if homeowners find themselves in trouble, the homes can be sold by the owners very quickly.”Even the ones that go into foreclosure are selling so fast that they are able to get out of it,” Slade said.However, the downside of the national trends could still pose a problem in the future for Garfield and neighboring counties. Stricter lending practices and lenders tightening standards on sub-prime home loans, combined with the ever-rising housing costs in Garfield County, could make it more difficult for homeowners to avoid foreclosure if they get into trouble in the near future.”It’s my perception that at some point you reach a limit where you can’t sell the house because the buyer can’t qualify for a loan,” Slade said.In Slade’s experience, Garfield County may not feel the effects of national trends at the same time but has felt them at some time after.At the start of the decade, when the state and much of the nation witnessed an increase in foreclosures, Garfield County held strong. But, Slade said, the county saw an increase in foreclosure in the following years, between 2003 and 2005, a trend that may repeat itself this time around as well.”We are just riding the tail end of it,” Slade said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more next year than this year.”Contact John Gardner: firstname.lastname@example.orgPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
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