Foreclosure activity in the state of Colorado continued to decline as more counties experienced falling unemployment rates in 2012.

Foreclosure auction sales in Colorado declined 18.9% last year, falling back to 2006 levels, the Colorado Division of Housing said Wednesday.

Last year, the state recorded 15,903 foreclosure auction sales, down from 19,617 in 2011.

In just the fourth quarter, foreclosure auction sales fell 7.3% to 3,760, a drop from 4,057 sales in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Foreclosure filings alone fell 10.6% year-over-year in 2012, declining to 28,579 filings from 31,975 a year earlier.

"Foreclosures in 2012 basically dropped back down to 2006 levels," said Ryan McMaken, economist for the Colorado Division of Housing. "There are also many more households now than in 2006, so if you adjust the foreclosure rate for the population growth, we’re almost back at 2005 levels."

McMaken says only 15 of Colorado’s 64 counties noticed upticks in completed foreclosures from 2011 to 2012.

"Those counties that did experience year-over-year increases in auction sales this year were often found among western slope and mountain counties, such as Fremont, Montezuma and Moffat counties," the Colorado Division of Housing said.

Boulder reported the seventh-lowest foreclosure rate, and this drop coincides with another trend of more vibrant employment markets aiding local housing recoveries in the state.  

"Employment continues to be a major factor," McMaken said. "It's not the only factor, but it’s not a big surprise that counties with lower unemployment rates are generally seeing foreclosures go away faster."