TELLURIDE – San Miguel County foreclosure filings for 2010 already match last year’s all-time high of 97 new files, with two months remaining in the calendar year.
“I’ve got number 97 on my desk,” said San Miguel County Treasurer and Public Trustee Jan Stout in an interview on Monday. “It’s happening today.”
The number is actually an improvement over the 150 files Stout thought her office might open when The Watch spoke with her at the beginning of this year. Estimating another eight to 12 new open files per month for the remainder of the year, Stout revised her year-end estimate to not more than 125 files.
“The foreclosures surprisingly kind of died off in the middle of the summer in July and August, which surprised me,” she said. “I think it reflects why we’re not as high as we thought we might be.”
Stout allowed that the summer’s slowing could have been related to the foreclosure sale moratoriums announced earlier this fall by a number of national mortgage-holders. The temporary halt in the sales of foreclosed properties and evictions of their owners went into effect after it became known that many foreclosures had been improperly processed.
Since then, “At least a dozen [properties] have been postponed from going to sale,” she said.
“We didn’t have a lot of sales last month, but we did do a lot of continuances.”
Among this year’s 97 new files, which range from fractional ownerships to mansions and vacant lots owned by locals, second homeowners and investors alike, 15 properties went to sale and 30 were withdrawn from foreclosure proceedings.
Another 52 remain in some state of foreclosure.
“We’re still seeing them all across the board,” Stout said, noting that no one type of property or category of property owner has emerged to lead the list.
Including files opened in 2008 and 2009, the county has deeded a total of 43 properties in 2010, six more than the number of properties it sold in 2009, and 40 more than in 2008.
“The deed is the final step before I close the file” after sale, Stout explained.
Despite the increase in workload, Stout’s office has been allotted no additional help because of the county’s recession-induced hiring freeze.
“We’re all working harder and smarter and there are no increases in positions,” she said. “We’re doing more work with the same number of people.”
Asked her best guess for the coming year, Stout was not overly optimistic.
“I would hope that we’re getting close to the bottom on loans that are not performing in the county, but it’s anybody’s guess,” she said.
“I don’t think that we’re really going to see much change in 2011,” she continued. “But I’m hopeful for 2012.”