Mountain Properties high on foreclosures (an excerpt from The Denver Post, dated 1/12/2011)

Darker days in 2010

Prior to the 2009 surge in foreclosures, many resort-area communities had not endured any real estate declines since the mid- to late 1980s, when the state's oil-dependent economy collapsed, triggering a real estate crash. But 2010 surpassed those dark days.

• Eagle County, home to Vail and Beaver Creek ski areas, saw 599 foreclosure filings in 1987, a record many thought would never fall. Last year, the county logged 618 foreclosure filings.

• Routt County saw its record 234 filings from 1985 overtaken by 2010's 303 foreclosures.

• Garfield County public trustee Bob Slade fielded 644 foreclosure filings in 2010, an 825 percent increase over the county's 25-year average and 400 more than the county's foreclosures in 1985.

Foreclosures in Pitkin and San Miguel counties also climbed beyond previous high marks set during the economic turmoil of the mid-1980s.

It's not just the number of foreclosure filings that is climbing in the state's high country. As big commercial properties fell into default, public trustees logged foreclosures in amounts previously unseen.

In Pitkin County, for example, banks foreclosed on the sprawling base project at Snowmass Village and Aspen's slopeside Dancing Bear fractional ownership project, totaling more than $570 million.

Routt County in November saw lenders foreclose on a $100 million construction loan at the luxury One Steamboat Place project at the base of the Steamboat ski area, marking the largest of the county's 19 commercial foreclosures. San Miguel County recorded foreclosure filings on two hotels in Telluride's Mountain Village worth $153 million.

"We are certainly seeing our biggest dollar volume in county history as well as the largest number of foreclosures," said Janice Stout, San Miguel County's public trustee.

Summit County recorded 350 foreclosure filings last year, falling short of the filing records of more than 400 set back in the 1980s.

And unlike other resort communities, Summit logged a spike in high-dollar foreclosures last year, with many filings for homes worth more than $1 million.

"We had an increase in our high end," said Summit County public trustee Bill Wallace. "Reality is setting in, I guess."

Read more: Foreclosures in Colo. mountains scaling record heights - The Denver Post
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