In another sign of the hot real estate market in the Colorado Springs area, the number of mortgage foreclosures filed in El Paso County last month fell to a near-20-year low, according to a new report.
The 49 foreclosures filed in October were the fewest for any month since lenders filed 48 such actions in December 1999, according to the El Paso County Public Trustee’s Office, which handles most foreclosures in the county. The number of filings in the first 10 months of the year is down 9.9% from the same period last year and is on track to generate the lowest annual total since 1999 — if filings in the last two months of the year stay at the current monthly average of 71.
Jacob Curbow, broker of Century 21 Curbow Realty and chair of the Pikes Peak Realtors Association, attributed the continuing decline in filings to a strong local economy and housing market.
“Low unemployment numbers (3.2% in September), interest rates staying lower longer than many had anticipated, builders not overbuilding the market and home prices not increasing at record levels like we are seeing in Denver and other markets have all combined to keep foreclosure numbers low,” Curbow said. “People who have bought a home as recently as a year ago can still sell without being underwater (a home valued at less than the amount owed on the mortgage).”
Curbow said he expects the local housing market to stay strong and foreclosures to remain low into 2020. While he said brokers specializing in home foreclosures have told him that other cities are seeing small increases in foreclosure filings, they see no sign of a surge in El Paso County.
Foreclosure notices go out after a homeowner misses mortgage payments or a commercial owner falls behind on a loan. Such filings have been declining every year since peaking at nearly 5,300 in 2009 in the wake of the Great Recession. Local home sales are up 1.6% through the first 10 months of the year, while the average home price is up 5.3%, according to the realtor association.