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Colorado No. 10 for forclosures

Colorado ranked No. 10 in the nation for its foreclosure rate, according to a first-quarter report released today.

In Colorado, one out of every 134 households was in some stage of foreclosure during the first three months of the year, very close to the national average of one out of every 138 households, according to the report by RealtyTrac, an Irvine, Calif.-based company that collects and sells foreclosure data.

Several years ago, Colorado was routinely listed in the top three states as far as foreclosure rates, according to RealtyTrac, a dubious title it no longer holds, as other states such as California, Florida and Nevada have seen their foreclosure rates skyrocket.

“We’re coming in very close to the national average on most measures,” said Ryan McMaken, of the Colorado Division of Housing. McMaken also tracks foreclosure rates in Colorado, using a different methodology than RealtyTrac.

Despite not counting every aspect of the foreclosure process – from the first notice from the county public trustee office until it becomes a real estate owned (REO) property held by the bank – McMaken said RealtyTrac’s data is within 10 percent of his tally, for filings and completed foreclosures.

McMaken said that mid-sized counties in Colorado are starting to show an increased number of foreclosures, which is not the case for the larger counties.

Overall, RealtyTrac shows a 27.12 percent increase in Colorado from the first quarter of 2009, compared with a 16.02 percent for the U.S.

Foreclosures artificially low a year ago

“That sizable year-over-year percent increase for the first quarter should be taken with a grain of salt since the first quarter totals last year were so impacted by the existence of the moratoria that only started to be phased out in March,” McMaken said. “So, totals were “unnaturally” low due to the moratoria a year ago.”

Colorado showed an 8.99 pecent increase from the fourth quarter, compared to a 7.23 percent for the entire country.

Nationwide, RealtyTrac shows that foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 932,234 properties in the first quarter. Foreclosure filings were reported on 367,056 properties in March, an increase of nearly 19 percent from the previous month, an increase of nearly 8 percent from March 2009 and the highest monthly total since RealtyTrac began issuing its report in January 2005.

“Foreclosure activity in the first quarter of 2010 followed a very similar pattern to what we saw in the first quarter of 2009: a shallow trough in January and February followed by a substantial spike in March,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “One difference, however, is that the increases were more tilted toward the final stage of foreclosure, with REOs increasing 9 percent on a quarterly basis in the first quarter of 2010 compared to a 13 percent quarterly decrease in REOs in the first quarter of 2009.

Record quarter by one measure

“This subtle shift in the numbers pushed REOs to the highest quarterly total we’ve ever seen in our report and may be further evidence that lenders are starting to make a dent in the backlog of distressed inventory that has built up over the last year as foreclosure prevention programs and processing delays slowed down the normal foreclosure timeline.”

During the quarter a total of 304,799 properties received default notices (Notices of Default and Lis Pendens), an increase of 1 percent from the previous quarter but down 1 percent from the first quarter of 2009. Default notices were down nearly 11 percent from a peak of more than 342,000 in the third quarter of 2009.

Foreclosure auctions were scheduled for the first time on a total of 369,491 properties during the quarter, the highest quarterly total for scheduled auctions in the history of the report. Scheduled auctions increased 12 percent from the previous quarter and were up 21 percent from the first quarter of 2009.

Bank repossessions (REOs) also hit a record high for the report in the first quarter, with a total of 257,944 properties repossessed by the lender during the quarter — an increase of 9 percent from the previous quarter and an increase of 35 percent from the first quarter of 2009.

Nevada, Arizona, Florida top states

As it has for the past 13 quarters, Nevada continued to document the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate in the first quarter of 2010. One in every 33 Nevada housing units received a foreclosure filing during the quarter, more than four times the national average and an increase of nearly 15 percent from the previous quarter. Still, Nevada’s total of 34,557 properties receiving a foreclosure filing in the first quarter was down 16 percent from the first quarter of 2009.

Arizona foreclosure activity in the first quarter increased on a quarterly and annual basis, helping the state to post the nation’s second highest state foreclosure rate for the third consecutive quarter. One in every 49 Arizona properties received a foreclosure filing during the quarter — nearly three times the national average.

With one in every 57 Florida properties receiving a foreclosure filing during the quarter, the state posted the nation’s third highest state foreclosure rate for the second straight quarter. Florida’s first-quarter foreclosure activity increased on a quarterly and annual basis.

California foreclosure activity decreased 6 percent from the first quarter of 2009, but the state still documented the nation’s fourth highest foreclosure rate — one in every 62 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing.

Utah foreclosure activity increased 75 percent from the first quarter of 2009, the highest annual increase among states with top-10 foreclosure rates and giving it the nation’s fifth highest state foreclosure rate. Foreclosure filings were reported on 10,756 Utah properties, a rate of one in every 88 housing units and an increase of 21 percent from the previous quarter.

Other states with foreclosure rates ranking among the top 10 in the first quarter were Michigan, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois and Colorado.

Ten states account for more than 70 percent of total

California alone accounted for 23 percent of the nation’s total foreclosure activity in the first quarter, with 216,263 properties receiving a foreclosure notice — the nation’s highest foreclosure activity total.

Florida’s total was second highest, with 153,540 properties receiving a foreclosure filing during the quarter, and Arizona’s total was third highest, with 55,686 properties receiving a foreclosure filing during the quarter.  Despite a nearly 5 percent decrease in foreclosure activity from the previous quarter, Illinois documented the fourth highest foreclosure activity total, with 45,780 properties receiving a foreclosure filing — still a 17 percent increase from the first quarter of 2009.

A total of 45,732 Michigan properties received a foreclosure filing during the quarter, the fifth highest state total. Michigan foreclosure activity increased nearly 11 percent from the previous quarter and was up nearly 38 percent from the first quarter of 2009.

Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com or 303-945-68685.

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