Colorado’s economy has been taking a turn for the better but hasn’t quite caught up with the speed at which the rest of the country is recovering. The labor market is on the rise, but job growth is still in the negative through the end of January 2011. Unemployment is better, but still not as improved as the national average. Home prices continued the falling trend in January, while many refinances stalled and mortgage delinquencies increased. Colorado had a total of almost 5,000 units filing foreclosure, a little over the national rate. But it’s still good news; Colorado foreclosures as a whole decreased by 3.46 percent compared to December 2010 figures.
What is significant is that none of the key cities in Colorado reported increases in the number of foreclosure sales in their records. Although the economy in Colorado is still faltering, there are positive indications. Hope for change and the protections now mandatory and instituted nationally by HUD and the Obama administration will fuel further investment and hopefully a return to the new homeowner loan approval and refinancing which will continue the decrease in mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures.
In most cities in Colorado, it seemed like the trend contradicted the national as the number of state foreclosures fell more rapidly than it did in many months. In Denver foreclosures, the fall was most significant: the number of foreclosures for sale went down by 12.25%. It was just a little lower in Arvada foreclosures and Aurora foreclosures with decreases of 12.04 and 11.99% respectively. The decrease in Brighton foreclosures was right in the middle with a still prominent 11.42%. Commerce City foreclosures and Englewood foreclosures decreased the least with the number of foreclosures for sale in their limits going down 10.42 and 9.47%.
Hopefully these trends from January to February will continue with the positive changes happening in the state. Newly elected Governor and successful businessman John Hickenlooper was sworn in on the 12th of January and pledged to get right to work on the economy, lowering Colorado foreclosures. He does need to get to work, seeing that he is taking over a budget shortfall of about $1 billion. The new Governor took an economic tour of the state and detailed his plan to build the economy from the bottom up, asking for a less urban-centered strategy, and seeking ideas from all corners of the state. His plan will be released in May of this year.
While considering the Governor’s words, Colorado stayed otherwise fairly quiet in light of the serious cold winter that's more burdensome than usual. The deadline did come and go for retailers to provide notice about the state sales tax. To encourage retail spending, stores do not have to collect sales tax on items they sell. However, the complication that has caused much controversy is that the state continues to insist that tax applies, but that it must be self-assessed by consumers. Nonetheless, the system will remain in place and the only caveat is that they have to prominently display and provide with each purchase, notice of the responsibility to its consumers by the end of January. Soon, the state will see the effect of these notices and whether people are in fact assessing their own sales tax, in what is seen as a somewhat experimental system. Whether it does work or not, the state economy is on the rise. The drop in Colorado foreclosures is just one of the signs that change is coming. The economic upswing, combined with the new Governor, his administration and the federal guidelines currently in place to help out the mortgage industry, have given Colorado the assistance and confidence it needs to continue to improve with the rest of the nation.