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Refinancing frenzy leads to uptick in deed releases

Mon, Nov 5, 2012

News

Colorado homeowners are paying off their mortgages, according to a report from the Colorado Department of Housing.

Releases of deeds of trust, which are issued when homeowners pay off their mortgages by refinancing, selling their homes or paying them off, rose 54.4 percent year over year.

El Paso County is keeping up with those trends.

El Paso County Public Trustee Tom Mowle said his office released 4,196 Deeds of Trust in October, the highest monthly total since August 2009. Mowle’s monthly report said releases are now 27 percent ahead of last year-to-date.

“It is quite reasonable to think that the yearly total will end up the highest since 2007, maybe as high as 40,000,” Mowle writes.

Colorado public trustees released 218,138 deed in the first three quarters of this year, according to the state report. Teller County saw the smallest increase in deed releases — 11 percent. And Douglas County saw the biggest — 73 percent. According to the state report, counties with higher average incomes had a larger increase in deed releases.

While Mowle has long said he believes deed releases are a good indicator of a healthy real estate market since they often reflect private party sales. But this surge of releases is different, he said.

“The release totals are probably fueled far more by refinancing than by private-party sales,” Mowle writes. “But each refinancing has a stimulative effect on the local economy:  each household has hundreds more dollars available each month for other purchases, or for shoring up the rest of its financial situation.”

Low interest rates are certainly driving the releases, said Ryan McMaken, spokesman for the division of housing.

“The 30-year mortgage rate was at a record low of 3.55 percent during the third quarter, and that has really helped push up refinance and purchase activity,” McMaken said. “Home purchases have been held back somewhat by lack of inventory, but refis appear to be increasingly common in recent quarters.”

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