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Aug 1, 2011 4:18 PM by Matt Stafford

Foreclosures drop in El Paso County

El Paso County Public Trustee Thomas Mowle says foreclosure numbers continue to decrease locally, based on July numbers.

El Paso County had 238 foreclosures started in July, which is considerably less than the 353 in July of 2010.

Mowle is projecting just over 3,300 foreclosures for 2011; that would be a roughly 30% drop from 2010 and the lowest number of foreclosures since 2006. Mowle says based on the numbers that have come in so far this year, his projection may be high.

In a statement released Monday, Mowle gave his opinion on the numbers:

This persistent drop in foreclosure starts - notable both for the suddenness of the drop from January to February and then the stability of the monthly numbers since then - appears to be a lasting legacy of the "robosigning" investigation from last October. As part of the agreement the banks have reached with regulators, banks are discouraged from double-tracking people in default. Thus banks seem to be working with borrowers before the foreclosure is filed, rather than after, which is delaying the start of those foreclosures. This means that to some extent we are probably seeing a delay in foreclosures rather than a decline, but that delay also allows people to sell or obtain additional income and work out a loan modification and avoid going into foreclosure altogether. It also means, however, that a greater proportion of the foreclosures that have started this year will result in a sale at auction. The percentage of properties sold at the first opportunity has been sharply up in the last couple of months, while the number withdrawn or cured is down.

So far there have been 1,981 foreclosures started as of Mowle's release Monday. There were 4,828 foreclosures in El Paso County in 2010. 2009 had the highest number of foreclosures at 5,470.

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