NEWS

Denver foreclosures dip 11.8 percent over 2007

Date: Jan. 14th, 2009
Contact: The Associated Press
DENVER—Foreclosures in the seven-county Denver area in 2008 dipped 11.8 percent when compared with 2007 but real estate experts warn that it might be too soon to declare the housing crisis over for the area.
For 2008 there were 24,494 foreclosures filed with public trustee offices in the Denver area, down from the record 27,785 filings in 2007. Figures in 2007 represented a 41.5 percent increase in foreclosures over 2006.

Adams County Public Trustee Carol Snyder attributes the year-over-year drop to several factors, including lenders increased willingness to work with borrowers to avoid foreclosures through short sales, where the lender accepts less than the loan amount. Some lenders have also put a hiatus on new foreclosures.

"I think the decrease in the number of filings has been somewhat of a blip to the extent that when the hiatus goes away, we could be dumped with a higher number of foreclosures again," Snyder told the Rocky Mountain News.

Before mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced their hiatus in December, the Colorado Division of Housing reported foreclosures filings statewide were up 3 percent during the first three quarters of 2008 when compared with 2007. Through September there were 29,756 filings, compared with 28,960 in 2007.

Statewide foreclosure statistics for 2008 are expected by the end of the month.

Homes are officially in foreclosure once a homeowner is behind three months on payments and public trustees receive a notice of election and demand.

The nonprofit Colorado Foreclosure Hotline operated by a consortium of government, private-sector and other organizations has worked with 9,000 homeowners facing foreclosures over two years.

"Our hotline data is showing that people are calling sooner than they used to," said hotline spokesman Ryan McMaken said. "They used to call when they were three months or more behind, while now a larger percentage are calling when they are still current on their payments."

Others are hopeful that the Denver market is doing better than the nationwide trend.

"It is possible that Colorado has gone through the worst of its foreclosure cycle," said Rick Sharga of Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac. RealtyTrac will release its national foreclosure report Thursday.

"Nationally, we're seeing huge increases," Sharga said.

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Information from: Rocky Mountain News, http://www.rockymountainnews.com/