Saturday, October 10, 2009

October 8 9News Interview

Here's the story that accompanied my Thursday morning interview on 9News:

Foreclosures still on the increase, but trend is slowing

KUSA - The Colorado Division of Housing has released local foreclosure statistics for September, and while the numbers continue to rise, the Division says they are improved over a year ago.

The office said "completed foreclosures" rose by 21 percent in the state from last month, but the September numbers are down 5 percent from 2008.

According to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which regulates all national banks, foreclosures are "completed" when the ownership of the properties is transferred to the servicers or investors and the debts are extinguished.

The OCC website says the process varies by state and can take up to 15 months to finish.

The numbers show Mesa County led the state in foreclosures with a rise of 217 percent over 2008, with Denver County reporting a decrease of 29 percent since this time last year. Arapahoe County totals fell 13 percent.

Housing spokesman Ryan McMaken was on 9NEWS 7 a.m.

McMaken explained completed foreclosures were lower because borrowers are becoming more sophisticated in exploring alternatives to foreclosure.

"This is helpful in keeping down the number of foreclosures that proceed to the end of the process," McMaken said. "Also, the reach of the foreclosure hotline continues to expand and this has helped keep totals down."

As to why completed foreclosures increased since August, McMaken says the division has noticed a slow but growing trend of lenders processing foreclosures more quickly.

Overall, McMaken says there's little in the report to suggest that foreclosures are about to take off again in Colorado, but the problem will persist for a while as the economy continues a gradual recovery.

"I'd expect to see a little bit of growth from September to October in totals," according to McMaken, "but I still expect 2009's numbers to be either flat or lower than the numbers from last year."

The full foreclosure report is available on the Division of Housing blog: