Colorado foreclosure filings, auction sales down in first quarter
First-quarter foreclosure filings in Colorado fell 27% from the year-ago period, to the lowest level since the third quarter of 2008 and possibly indicating some housing market stabilization in the state. New foreclosure filings totaled 8,115 during the period, according to the Colorado Division of Housing. Foreclosure sales at auction also dropped, the state agency said, down 16% from a year earlier. Foreclosure filings fell 24% compared to the fourth quarter. "Recently collected quarterly and monthly totals indicate that foreclosure filings continue to fall from peak levels," the housing entity said. "On the other hand, foreclosure sales at auction continued along a generally flat trajectory that has been in place since 2007." While several regions of Colorado experienced improvement in foreclosure activity during the first quarter, some areas continued on declining paths. Counties on the western slope of Colorado generally saw an increase in filings, with Garfield County filings rising 26%, Delta County increasing 29% and Alamosa County filings jumping 37%. The Colorado Division of Housing reported foreclosure filings decreased in the 12 most populous counties. These counties accounted for 80% of all foreclosure activity in 2011, down from 90% in 2007. Filings fell 31% in Adams County, 41% in Denver County and 30% in Mesa County, which still reported the highest foreclosure rate throughout the state. The drop in filings likely reflects some "true stability" in Colorado housing markets, the Division of Housing said. However, the report cautioned the recovery is not in full effect. "While foreclosure filings are presently in decline compared to 2009, a significant drop off in foreclosure activity will rely on strength in the larger economy and on job creation," the report said. "With the initial job losses of 2008 in the past, a degree of stability has returned to local real estate markets, but more job creation is needed before a significant drop-off in foreclosure activity is likely to occur." Write to Christine Ricciardi. Follow her on Twitter @HWnewbieCR.