County foreclosure status: depends on whom you ask

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Statistics don’t lie, but they do send different – even confusing - messages to different audiences.

Ryan McMaken, spokesman for the Colorado Division of Housing, Department of Local Affairs said this week that El Paso County’s 30 percent spike in new foreclosure filings compared to last year was in stark contrast to a lower statewide increase for second quarter of just 11 percent.

“We actually saw most other large counties register a decrease in year-to-date filings in Adams, Arapahoe, Denver and Jefferson counties,” he said. “We’re not sure why the continued increases are occurring in El Paso County.”

The total number of El Paso County foreclosure filings and completed sales during second quarter 2009 and year-to-date are the fourth highest in the state, said Public Trustee Thomas Mowle, adding that because El Paso County has the state’s largest population “that means we are doing better than many other counties.”

He also points out that many nearby and large counties have a higher foreclosure rate, in terms of completed sales per household, than El Paso County: Park, Teller, Adams, Weld, Elbert, Arapahoe, Pueblo, Denver, and Fremont all fall into this category.

Large counties with a lower percent increase than El Paso include Douglas, Jefferson, Larimer, Boulder and Mesa.

The local filings – up 67 percent – were also much higher than for other counties like Adams, Arapahoe, Denver or Jefferson, Mowle said in his second quarter report.

Sales of foreclosed properties – the final stage in the legal process – were up 5 percent in El Paso, a slightly higher rate of increase than Adams and Jefferson; Denver and Arapahoe had fewer sales this quarter than last year.