By Collin McRann, Staff reporter Telluride Daily Planet
Foreclosure rates on county properties were down 60 percent from 2012 numbers, according to county records. While local housing sales were also reportedly down slightly from 2012, many say the decline in foreclosures is a sign of recovery in the housing market. Fewer foreclosures could signal higher real estate prices in the region, which in turn could mean more tax revenues for local governments and possibly more new construction.
The numbers are not broken down by town, but historically a majority of the area’s foreclosures have been filed in Telluride or Mountain Village. Regardless, 2014 could still hold surprises.
“I just don’t know what 2014 is going to bring,” said County Treasurer Janice Stout. “Whether the pace is going to pick back up again or whether the economy has improved enough so that our foreclosure numbers will stay down. It’s really too early to say.”
In all, 36 foreclosures were filed with the county in 2013, down from 90 in 2012. Foreclosures began to rise in San Miguel County when the recession hit in 2008, spiked in 2009 and reached record levels in 2010 when 107 were filed. They have since tapered off, and local real estate agents hope they stay low in 2014.
So far three foreclosures have been filed in the county in 2014, but brokers say it’s too early to predict how the year will go. The hope is that markets continue to mend.
“It looks like our resort markets are healing really well,” said real estate broker George Harvey. “If things stay the same, I can only guess that foreclosures in another year will be almost gone. I think the thing that we were hopeful for [in 2013] is that the purchases would pick up a little bit and they didn’t.”
Though Harvey had not seen the exact end of the year numbers for 2013, he believes sales and volume are down about 5 or 6 percent from 2012. He said many realtors were hoping that the numbers would be up about 10 percent.
Local real estate sales in 2013 were up and down throughout the year, but were strongest toward the end of summer and beginning of fall. And sales of condominiums and other properties were positive in Mountain Village for most of 2013.
According to the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association, its 2013 real-estate transfer assessment (RETA) collections were down slightly from 2012. TMVOA collected around $3.9 million in 2013. While 2013’s RETA was below the $4.1 million collected in 2012, it is still more than what was collected in previous years. In 2011 TMVOA only saw around $2.6 million in RETA revenues.
The Town of Telluride’s 2013 real estate transfer tax revenues, on the other hand, were up from 2012. According to town documents, Telluride collected $3.8 million in RETT revenues in 2013, up from $3.7 in 2012 and $2.8 in 2011.
“Some think that a lot of the affluent are kind of riding the stock market right now, and then they’ll start putting more of their money into real estate,” Harvey said. “But I would say  was an OK year — not really bad or good, but something in the middle. We would all like to see it improve this year.”