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Foreclosures continue to decline in Jeffco

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But public trustee cites rise in delinquent mortgage payments

By Ramsey Scott

 

The good news about Jeffco’s housing market keeps coming, despite a recent increase in delinquent mortgage payments in the county.

If the county’s current foreclosure rate remains steady for the rest of the year, Jeffco will see 55 percent fewer home foreclosures started than in 2012. Through the first three quarters of 2013, Jeffco has begun 1,087 foreclosures. 

If that pace holds up, the county will see about 1,449 foreclosures. In 2012, the county had 2,650 homes go into foreclosure. 

The foreclosure rate in Jeffco has decreased 35 percent overall since 2009. 

The county is also seeing the number of deeds released increase 15 percent over last year. While there has been an increase in home sales in the county, much of this is due to people taking advantage of continuing low interest rates, Margaret Chapman, Jeffco’s public trustee, said during a briefing with county commissioners on Oct. 15.

Home prices in the Denver area continued to see improvements, posting the 19th straight month of increases. 

Yet Chapman did say there were two troubling signs in the housing market Jeffco should monitor. 

In the second quarter of this year, Jeffco saw the rate of new 30-day delinquencies on mortgage payments increase to the highest rate in more than a year. Chapman said this trend should be watched moving forward. 

Another potential trouble spot is that, while the federal government was shut down for 16 days this month, lenders were unable to check homebuyers’ financial statements against IRS income statements. 

“Some lenders are just processing loans and writing them without checks. We all know what happened several years ago when we had that happen,” Chapman said. “This could lead to loans that aren’t financially sound.”

The decline in foreclosures has lessened the work of the public trustee’s office, which in turn has led to a reduction in the staff from nine to seven. The public trustee’s office is funded solely by foreclosure fees and fees for other services.

 

Contact Ramsey Scott at ramsey@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22, and follow him on Twitter @RamseyColumbine.