Durango Telegraph - Foreclosures climb in La Plata County
Foreclosures climb in La Plata County

The local real estate market may be rebounding, but county foreclosures still paint a troubling picture.

Foreclosure filings in 2009 nearly doubled in La Plata County, from 148 in 2008 to 297 in 2009. Of those, 113 have gone to sale, compared to 34 which were sold in foreclosure in 2008. So far, 2010, appears to be more of the same, with 31 foreclosure filings as of Tuesday. “If you discount weekend and holidays, that’s about one a day,” said County Treasurer Ed Murray, whose office is responsible for handling foreclosure filings.

Although local numbers are worse than statewide numbers, which saw an 18 percent jump in filings but a 4 percent decrease in sales in 2009, Murray cautioned against reading too much into the numbers. He said since lenders can continue foreclosure proceedings for up to a year, some of the 113 sales could actually have been initiated in 2008 or even late 2007.

He also pointed out that of the 297 filed in 2009, 20 were “cured,” or brought up to date, and 87 were withdrawn for various reasons including refinancing. Those things, along with the number of filings remaining active over long spans could be a sign that lenders are more willing to work with borrowers to say in their homes.

He also said the jump may seem more dramatic because La Plata County is merely playing catch up with the rest of the state and country. “As big of a percentage increase it was for us, it’s not unusual for a county our size,” he said. “Plus, we were doing a lot better here until only a few years ago.”

However, he said he expects this year to be more of the same. “The real estate market may be looking better, but people are still out of work.”

– Missy Votel

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