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August 26, 2009 — It took a little longer, but the bursting of the real estate bubble across the country over the last two years is now ravaging once bullet-proof mountain markets.
Garfield County, according to the Aspen Times, has had 208 foreclosure filings so far this year (as of Aug. 13), already making it the second-highest year for foreclosure filings since 1985.
“This will be the greatest number of foreclosure sales since the oil shale bust,” chief deputy public trustee Bob Slade told the Times, referring to Exxon’s big push for commercial oil shale production that went belly-up virtually overnight in the mid eighties, making ghost towns out of Parachute and Battlement Mesa.
A less dramatic but arguably just as pronounced downturn is occurring with the natural-gas boom of the last 10 years, but that doesn’t explain the crash in real estate sales in surrounding counties like Pitkin (Aspen) and Eagle (Vail), where the Times reports similar foreclosure rates.
Eagle County chief deputy public trustee Karla Herridge told the Times there have been 257 foreclosure filings so far this year compared to 179 in 2008 and 148 in 2007. In Pitkin County there have been 60 foreclosures opened so far in 09, compared to 35 in 08 and just 15 in 2007.
As for real estate sales, Eagle County’s transactions are down 54 percent in 2009 compared to 2008, and dollar volume is off by 64 percent. However, there are some signs things are starting to pick up again.
There was slightly more than $95 million in sales volume in Eagle County for the month of June, making it the best month of the year for the second straight month, according to Land Title Guarantee. June saw 78 transactions, again putting it among the top two months year-do-date for activity. The average sales price was just over $1.2 million.
Eagle and Gypsum accounted for more than 37 percent of all transactions in June.
Year-to-date the areas with the largest number of transactions are Eagle, with 50 transactions, and Vail Village, with 40 transactions. Between Eagle and Vail Village, the two areas accounted for more than 25 percent of all transactions thus far in 2009.
Properties selling for less than $500,000 made up more than 50 percent of the transactions in Eagle County. The highest priced residential property that sold in June was in Mountain Star, selling for $15.5 million.
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