Denver foreclosures down 46 percent from a year ago

Date: Apr. 23rd, 2009
Contact: Denver Business Journal
by Mark Harden

Foreclosure filings in the Denver metro area declined nearly 46 percent in the first three months of 2009 from the same period a year ago, according to data from RealtyTrac Inc.

The Denver-Aurora area had the 60th-highest foreclosure-filing rate among 203 large U.S. urban areas in the first quarter of the year, according to figures released late Tuesday by RealtyTrac, an Irvine, Calif.-based marketer of foreclosure properties, in its “Metropolitan Foreclosure Market Report.”

A total of 7,250 properties in the area were in some stage of the foreclosure process in the first three months of the year, or one per every 144 households, RealtyTrac said. That was down 22.28 percent from the fourth quarter of 2008 and down 45.77 percent from the first quarter of 2008, it said.

The Boulder area, which RealtyTrac lists separately, ranked 122nd out of 203 cities.

Boulder had 356 properties with foreclosure filings in the first quarter, or one in 347, down 4.04 percent from the fourth quarter of 2008 and down 20.18 percent from the first quarter of 2008, RealtyTrac said.

The highest ranking Colorado city on the Q1 2009 list was Colorado Springs at No. 57, with one in 136 properties in foreclosure.

The company said the 26 U.S. cities with the highest foreclosure-filing rates were concentrated in California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona.

Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev., topped the national list with one out of every 22 properties in foreclosure, followed by Merced, Calif. (1 in 24), Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla. (1 in 26), Stockton, Calif. (1 in 27) and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (1 in 28).

RealtyTrac listed 203 metro areas with populations of 200,000 or more.

The new national foreclosure-filing numbers “paint a picture of concentrated problems in a relatively small number of hard hit areas,” James Saccacio, RealtyTrac CEO, said in a statement.

“Sales activity appears to be increasing in some of these markets as home prices have fallen to levels that are attractive to first-time homebuyers and investors,” he added. “While we expect many of these metro areas to continue to experience high levels of foreclosure activity throughout 2009, we also expect to see other markets rise up the ranks as unemployment rates surge throughout the country.”

RealtyTrac’s metro-areas report parallels its much publicized state-by-state foreclosure rankings.

The company’s Q1 ranking for Colorado showed the state ranked 12th in the nation, down nearly 14 percent from the previous quarter and down more than 33 percent from the first quarter of 2008.

Colorado officials for years have disputed the state’s high position on RealtyTrac’s lists, particularly in 2006 when Colorado’s foreclosure rate was described as the worst in the nation for nearly a year.

State officials have argued that the way Colorado’s public trustees report foreclosure data leads private entities like RealtyTrac to overcount foreclosures here. RealtyTrac has said its methodology is fair.

State lawmakers this session passed a bill that would standardize the way Colorado reports foreclosure numbers. Gov. Bill Ritter signed it on April 3; it takes effect 90 days after the end of this year’s legislative session. Assuming the session ends in May, the law would become effective in August.