FRISCO — It’s no secret by now that Summit County’s real estate market has been largely unaffected, if not aided, by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Despite a total 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 indicate a property’s ownership has been transferred to the county.
There have been eight public trustee’s issued in Summit County this year, according to the August Land Title Guarantee Report.
In 2019, 14 public trustees were issued. There were 18 issued in 2018. The last time the county issued more than 50 public trustees was 2014, when the county issued 65.
While foreclosures have been low for a few years in Summit County, it may come as a surprise to people 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 home 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 2020, 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 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, the folks who are homeowners in our area probably haven’t been hit as hard as some people on the Front Range,” Canfield said.
Canfield says the low number of foreclosures in Summit County can only 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.”