Distressed properties aren’t the factor they once were in Routt County real estate market | SteamboatToday.com

Distressed properties aren’t the factor they once were in Routt County real estate market

— Routt County Public Trustee and Treasurer Brita Horn confirmed this week that, with three weeks remaining in the year, the number of new foreclosures coming into her office has slipped to 35, the lowest in nine years. This year’s numbers compare to more than 300 foreclosures recorded in both 2010 and 2011 — the worst years of the great recession — and 65 a year ago.

“It looks like the economy is giving (homeowners) the availability to refinance or get turned around quicker,” Horn said.

The large numbers of mortgage foreclosures that staggered the Routt County real estate industry five years ago by putting hundreds of distressed properties on the market at prices below replacement cost have now returned to normalcy.

This year, filings of new foreclosures (notices of election and demand, or NED’s) are on pace to finish lower than the recorded 53 in 2006 and 47 in 2007, when the real estate boom was peaking in Steamboat Springs and Routt County.

Horn became public trustee in 2012, when NED’s were still high but on the decline. New foreclosure filings had climbed to 195 in 2009 as Northwest Colorado lagged the national recession. But they leapt to 303 in 2010 and 306 in 2011, before declining to 233 in 2012 and 134 in 2013. New foreclosure filings totaled 65 in 2014.

Foreclosure is a lengthy process that begins with the filing of an NED. But of the 35 filed this year, 11 have already been withdrawn by the holders of the debt, according to Horn’s office. In 2011, when NED’s peaked at 306, 139 were withdrawn and 183 sales of foreclosed property were held.

Horn said there have been numerous weeks in 2015 in which she had no need to conduct her regularly scheduled Wednesday foreclosure sales.

From 2009 to 2013, the local real estate market was impacted not only by bank-owned homes, but also by properties whose owners feared they could not continue to make their mortgage payments and worked out terms for a “short sale” (below the remaining principle owed on the mortgage).

In April 2011, Realtor Cindy MacGray (now with Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty) described to Steamboat Today a 959-square-foot, two-bedroom condominium at Sunray Meadows that had sold for $410,000 in 2007 and was being offered at short sale for $205,000.

Recent sales at Sunray include a larger (1,060-square-foot) two-bedroom condo that sold for $357,000 in October.

Among the bank-owned homes that rocked the market during the recession were properties owned by federally supported lending agencies such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In February 2012, Steamboat Today reported there were 62 foreclosed homes on the market, and among those, 39 were offered for sale by either Freddie Mac (the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.) or Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association).

As 2015 comes to a close, Fannie Mae owns just two homes in Routt County, both condominiums in Steamboat, according to records kept by the Routt County Clerk’s office.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

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