Summit County sees few foreclosures during pandemic economy
FRISCO — It’s no secret that Summit County’s real estate market has been largely unaffected, if not aided, by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Despite a widespread business shutdown in March, residential properties in Summit County are selling faster than ever. A good seller’s market also means fewer foreclosures, which are indicated by public trustees — documents that show a property’s ownership has been transferred to the county.
There have been eight public trustee’s issued in Summit County this year through August, according to a Land Title Guarantee Co. report.
In all of 2019, 14 public trustees were issued. There were 18 issued in 2018. The county issued 65 public trustees in 2014 in the aftermath of the Great Recession.
While foreclosures have been low for a few years in Summit County, it may come as a surprise that the pandemic didn’t have much of an effect on that trend.
Instead of crashing the housing market, the pandemic has boosted it in places like Summit County. Many people from out of state and metro areas like Denver are seeking to buy their dream homes in the mountains, which is creating a huge increase in demand.
“There’s increasing demand, as we’ve seen, from people who haven’t been hit as hard financially by this health crisis, and they are now shopping for homes out here more feverishly than they have in the past, which is driving up prices more,” said Leah Canfield, real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Mountain Properties.
The low inventory caused by increasing demand makes it even easier for people to sell, which allows owners who want to get rid of a property to do so quickly.
“When there’s low inventory, there’s a bigger demand for property,” Summit Realtors President Dana Cottrell said. “A seller, if there’s any problem with their property … there’s more of a pool of people that are there to buy immediately before they get into any trouble.”
The majority of foreclosures in Summit County likely come from timeshare owners. As of August, 13 of the 21 issued foreclosure documents were timeshare owners. Not all foreclosure documents lead to public trustees.
Cottrell said timeshare foreclosures are often more common because they have less financial risk compared to full ownership properties, which cost more money.
“There’s always a much higher percentage of people who have done the timeshares,” Cottrell said. “They do it, and they just stop paying on it, or they don’t pay their fees.”
Another contributing factor to the low foreclosure rate in Summit County, especially during the pandemic, is the financial stability of those who own homes in the area.
“Unfortunately, COVID has really disproportionately hit different members of our society,” Canfield said. “The folks who are homeowners in our area probably haven’t been hit as hard as some people on the Front Range.”
Canfield says the low number of foreclosures in Summit County can be seen as a sign of a strong housing market.
“Because our real estate market is so strong, if (people) happen to own real estate, and they’re struggling, they are sellers not foreclosure victims,” Canfield said.
She added that, going forward, prices would have to drop significantly before she would expect the number of foreclosures in the county to rise.
“The foreclosures are a direct reflection of the health of our industry,” Cottrell said. “When things are going badly and sellers can’t sell and buyers can’t buy, then there’s more foreclosures.”
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