Foreclosure rate remains high in Mesa County

Property foreclosure sales continued to increase on a year-over-year basis Mesa County during the fourth quarter of 2012 even as the county continued to experience one of the highest foreclosure rates in Colorado.

According to the latest figures compiled by the Colorado Division of Housing, 202 foreclosure sales were reported in Mesa County during the fourth quarter of 2012, a nearly 28 percent increase over the same quarter in 2011.

The foreclosure rate, which is measured by the number of households per completed foreclosure stood at 288 for the fourth quarter of 2012.

That’s the eighth highest rate among the 64 Colorado counties and the highest rate among the 12 metropolitan counties in the state.

At the same time, though, 272 property foreclosure filings were reported in Mesa County during the fourth quarter, an almost 24 percent decrease from the same span last year.

For all of 2012, 847 foreclosure sales were reported, a decrease of nearly 1 percent from 2011. Meanwhile, 1,246 filings were reported, an increase of almost 5 percent.

According to separate numbers for January, 60 filings and 55 sales were reported, decreases of almost 36 percent and 28 percent, respectively, over the same month last year.

Filings constitute the beginning of the foreclosure process, offering a leading indicator of potential sales. Filings can be cured or withdrawn, however, before sales occur. Seven filings were cured in Mesa County during the fourth quarter, while 32 filings were cured for all of 2012.

Sales occur at the end of the foreclosure process and indicate how many properties have been sold at auction. Since foreclosed properties typically sell for less than comparable properties on the market, foreclosure sales tend to pull down real estate prices.

Because of the period between filings and sales, the two don’t occur in the same quarter.

While the number of foreclosure filings in Mesa County has dropped over the past five quarters, the number of sales has seesawed between increases and decreases.

In neighboring Western Colorado counties, foreclosure filings and sales dropped on a year-over-year basis during the fourth quarter in Garfield and Montrose counties, but edged up slightly in Delta County. In Rio Blanco County, filings fell as sales increased. The numbers are much smaller in those counties, though, and consequently subject to larger variations. Filings and sales for all of 2012 retreated in Garfield and Montrose counties, but increased in Rio Blanco County. In Delta County, filings edged up and sales dropped.

Along with Mesa County, Rio Blanco and Garfield counties ranked among the top 10 counties in Colorado for the highest foreclosure rates.

Delta County ranked 13th, while Montrose County ranked 24th.

Statewide, 5,685 foreclosure filings and 3,760 sales were reported during the fourth quarter, down more than 33 percent and 7 percent, respectively, from the same period last year.

For all of 2012, 28,579 foreclosure filings were reported in Colorado, down nearly 11 percent from 2011. A total of 15,903 foreclosure sales were reported for 2012, a decrease of almost 19 percent compared to the year before. Statewide filings fell to their lowest level since 2006, while sales fell to their lowest level since 2005.