Foreclosure filings rose 3.5% in Colorado's major metro areas last month, growing from 1,986 filings in February of 2010 to 2,056 in the most recent period, the Colorado Division of Housing said Wednesday.  

At the same time, foreclosure auction sales reached a five-year low, with total sales down 6.7% from 2011, making it the lowest February sales total since 2008. The housing division cautioned against trying to extrapolate a larger connection between the two events.

Ryan McMaken with the Colorado Division of Housing says foreclosure filings show what's happening in the market now, while auction sales reflect what was happening six-to-nine months ago. In other words, if foreclosure filings pick up today, auction sales from those notices are unlikely to hit the market until several months down the road. 

In February, Colorado counties recorded a total of 1,248 foreclosure auction sales, down from 1,338 in February of last year. 

From January to February, foreclosure filings grew 6% while auction sales went up 8.5%.

"Foreclosure auction sales have now been down thirteen of the last fourteen months, comparing year over year, and this continues a trend of diminished foreclosure filings that we’ve been seeing since the fall of 2010," said McMaken. 

"On the other hand, filings were up a bit in February compared to last year, and this may reflect a renewed effort by lenders to process foreclosures in the wake of the recent legal settlement with the states and the feds," he added.