Trouble in paradise: foreclosures rise to new Rocky Mountain highs

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.

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