Moffat County foreclosure filings remain flat to previous years

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The number of Moffat County homes entering the foreclosure process remains essentially flat, a sign of relative stability in the local real estate market.

Teresa Smith, who handles foreclosure filings in the office of Moffat County Treasurer and Public Trustee Elaine Sullivan, said notices of election and demand essentially were flat in 2012 at 93. There were 92 notices of election and demand filed in 2011.

New foreclosure filings in Moffat County might have peaked with 107 in 2010 (they totaled 77 in 2009). Through Friday, they were up slightly to 19 compared with 15 through the first two months of 2012.

“They usually hit hard in January. I had 11 in January,” Smith said.

Notices of election and demand represent the first part of the foreclosure process, and not all properties that come under a notice of election and demand are returned to the bank or sold to a third party. Some owners cure their loan deficiencies. Other filings do not show up as final foreclosure sales because the owners file for bankruptcy.

It’s also the case that it can take months, sometimes more than a year, before a property under a notice of election and demand finally is auctioned or returned to the bank and hits the real estate market.

Driven by its abundance of vacation homes, Routt County’s foreclosure picture is substantially different from Moffat County’s. And although Routt County hasn’t worked through all of the home foreclosure fallout that resulted from the real estate reversal of late 2008, there are signs a corner has been turned.

The number of new Routt County foreclosure filings in the fourth quarter of 2012 fell to less than half of what they were during the same period in 2011, Routt County Public Trustee Brita Horn said. Those 42 notices of election and demand were the lowest fourth-quarter numbers since 2008. There were 86 new filings in the fourth quarter of 2011.

January can be a busy month for new filings in Routt County, but the first two months of 2013 have continued to reflect the moderating trend, with 27 new notices of election and demand filed to date.

“I looked up those same dates from last year, and there were 37 (new notices of election and demand in January/February 2012),” Horn said. “I’m seeing a change in a mindset. Everybody’s saying, 'This is the time frame. We’re not in recession any longer, but we’re working through it.'”

In Routt County, the 233 new foreclosure filings in 2012 was a big number compared with five years ago even though that figure represents a significant decline from the peak of 306 in 2011. In all of 2008, Routt County saw just 55 new foreclosure filings, and that number was pretty typical of the previous decade. The number jumped to 195 in 2009 and then made another big jump to 303 in 2010.

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