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Gazette Premium Content Foreclosure filings, sales down in Colorado's metro counties

BILL RADFORD Updated: March 20, 2013 at 12:00 am

Foreclosure filings in the state’s dozen metro counties fell in February to the lowest level of any month since the Colorado Division of Housing began collecting monthly totals in 2007.

Filings in the metro counties fell to 1,160 last month from 2,056 in Feburary 2012, a 43.6 percent drop, according to a Division of Housing report released Wednesday. Foreclosure sales also fell, dropping from 1,248 to 725 for a 41.9 percent year-over-year decrease.

Foreclosure filings are the start of the legal process in Colorado that can lead to the loss of a home or other property while foreclosure sales, or completed foreclosures, mark the end of the process.

“There are few ways to describe this other than as a big drop-off in foreclosure filings,” said Ryan McMaken, an economist for the Colorado Division of Housing. “It’s getting easier to sell a house to get out of trouble. Low mortgage rates and low inventory continue to be big factors.”

Foreclosure filings last month in El Paso County fell to 180, a 40.2 percent year-over-year drop. Arapahoe County reported the biggest drop at 53.9 percent; Pueblo had the smallest decline at 21.1 percent.

El Paso County’s foreclosure sales in February totaled 131, a 20.1 percent drop from a year earlier. Douglas County posted the biggest decline, 64 percent.

A decrease in foreclosure activity is just one sign of a recovering housing market both locally and nationally. Colorado Springs-area single-family homebuilding permits reached 220 in February, double the total from February 2012, according to the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department. Area home sales, meanwhile, totaled 664 in February, up 29.2 percent from a year earlier, according to a Pikes Peak Association of Realtors report.

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