Number of foreclosures rises sharply in Garfield County compared to 2001 |

Number of foreclosures rises sharply in Garfield County compared to 2001

Foreclosures to date in Garfield County are already up 21 percent over all of last year.”I expect to see more foreclosures,” said County Treasurer Georgia Chamberlain. “I’ve heard that Mesa County and the Buena Vista area are also up.”As public trustee, Chamberlain’s office foreclosed on 60 properties so far this year because owners couldn’t pay their mortgages. Last year’s total was 47 foreclosures.Records in Chamberlain’s office show Rifle and its postal area is leading the foreclosure pack with 18. The average value of the foreclosed properties was $152,000. Chamberlain said foreclosures can occur on dwellings, vacant land and ranches, but most are single-family homes.The breakdown in other parts of Garfield County is as follows:-Parachute has had 11 foreclosures, with an average value of $123,000.-Carbondale and New Castle are tied at 10 foreclosures. The average value in Carbondale is $347,000, and in New Castle $173,000.-Glenwood Springs has had seven foreclosures, at an average value of $271,000.-Silt has had four foreclosures, for an average value of $177,000.The most expensive house to go into foreclosure this year – in Carbondale – was valued at $631,800.Historically, some property owners are foreclosed upon due to personal financial problems such as medical bills or other unexpected expenses, or they lose their job.”It’s the economy,” Chamberlain said.Chamberlain pointed to a couple of bad snow years for the Aspen Skiing Co., a slow down in Aspen area construction and a nationwide economic adjustment following the terrorist attacks.”Things changed after 9/11,” Chamberlain said.Jan Hubbell, a mortgage consultant for Wells Fargo in Rifle, blamed debt for the foreclosures. “People are over-extended. Even with low interest rates, they have a lot of debt.”In surrounding counties, Mesa County had 320 foreclosures in 2001, and 315 so far this year. “We’ll have more than last year by the end of the year,” said a Mesa County treasurer’s office spokesperson.In Pitkin County, there were 21 foreclosures last year and 19 to date this year.This year’s foreclosure rate in Garfield County continues a trend that started in 1999, when foreclosures jumped 40 percent for a total of 40. In 2000 there were 50 foreclosures, but in 2001 they dipped slightly to 47.While this year’s number of foreclosures is up over last year, it’s only slightly higher than the bust year of 1982, when there were 63.The oil shale bust hit in May of 1982, but its full effect didn’t hit until 1983, when there were 154. Foreclosures climbed to 197 in 1984 and 244 in 1985, before dropping to 194 in 1986. Foreclosures continued to drop for the most part and hit a 20 year low in 1996 with 14.

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