Foreclosures that dogged Colorado Springs' housing market during the Great Recession continue to decline, although homeowners should guard against financial woes like those that led to the surge in distressed properties, one real estate agent says.
A new report by CoreLogic, a California-based housing data firm, shows that Colorado Springs' foreclosure rate - the percentage of loans in some stage of foreclosure - fell to 0.60 percent in January, down from 0.78 percent a year earlier. The rate was three times higher - 1.86 percent - five years earlier in January 2011, CoreLogic's reports show.
The percentage of Springs-area mortgage holders who were delinquent on loan payments by at least 90 days fell to 1.92 percent in January. That's down from 2.41 percent in January 2015 and down from 4.51 percent in January 2011, according to CoreLogic.
Colorado Springs, like many areas around the country, saw spikes in foreclosures in the years around the recession. In 2009, foreclosure filings in El Paso County soared to a record 5,288, although they've declined each year since and totaled 1,470 last year.
Many property owners encountered job losses, medical issues or other problems that contributed to them being unable to keep up with mortgage payments during the recession, said Charles D'Alessio, broker/owner of Synergy Realty Group in Colorado Springs.
Other property owners couldn't afford rising payments on mortgages, such as adjustable-rate loans that ratcheted higher every few years, he said.
Now, market conditions are far better, D'Alessio said.
More jobs were added to the Colorado Springs-area economy last year than at any time since 2000, U.S. Bureau of Labor figures show. Mortgage rates also remain at historic lows. And banks have more flexibility to make loans - strengthening the housing market and helping to whittle down the number of local foreclosures, he said.
"It's a little easier to get loans now because the government wants the lenders to have the ability to give people money so they can get into homes," D'Alessio said.
But homeowners should remain cautious with their finances, D'Alessio said. Even as job growth has improved, the Springs economy still has room to grow, D'Alessio said. And despite more jobs, many employees aren't seeing an increase in their incomes, he added.
"If their job doesn't improve financially with raises, if people aren't able to get jobs to make more money, then they could find themselves in the same position (as during the recession)," he said.
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