Why Some Ex-Denver Homeowners Were Able To Cash In After Foreclosure

Jim Hill/CPR News
A home for sale in Denver’s West Washington Park Neighborhood, spring 2015.
Photo: Home For Sale
A home for sale in Denver's West Washington Park Neighborhood, spring 2015.

Foreclosed homes in Denver are going for so much money at auction that some former homeowners are actually getting checks.

The Denver clerk and recorder's office says it's returned more than $2.3 million in excess funds to homeowners so far this year. Excess funds are the difference between what homeowners still owed on their mortgage and what the house fetched in a foreclosure sale.

Former homeowners can check the clerk’s website to see if their sale resulted in excess funds.

"We believe that the excess funds belong to the homeowner and can make a big difference in helping them restart their lives," Debra Johnson, Denver's clerk and recorder, said in a press release.

Historically high home prices and a strong regional economy have helped the Denver metro area’s foreclosure rate fall to one of the lowest in the country, at just .1 percent. Fewer than than 1 percent of mortgages are in serious delinquency, often a precursor to foreclosure.

CoreLogic, a real estate tracking company, says only the San Francisco Bay Area can come close to matching that.

The city of Denver is on pace to have the lowest foreclosure numbers in at least 17 years, according to city data.

Home prices in the Denver metro area are still rising at a steady pace, but they are slowing compared to price growth in other states. September prices grew 7.2 percent over the year according to the Case Shiller Home Price index, the slowest rate since 2014.

Housing experts say that's in large part because there are fewer affordable options in Denver, meaning transactions are slowing.