A house is for sale on Jackson Street in Denver. Although the city’s home sales have improved over a year ago, the market is still much lower than
A house is for sale on Jackson Street in Denver. Although the city's home sales have improved over a year ago, the market is still much lower than its pre-recession levels. (Craig F. Walker, The Denver Post)

Foreclosure filings in Colorado metro counties were down 43.6 percent during February 2013, falling year over year to the lowest level recorded in any month since the Colorado Division of Housing began collecting monthly totals.

According to a report released Wednesday by the Colorado Division of Housing, foreclosure filings in Colorado metropolitan counties dropped from 2,056 in February 2012 to 1,160 in February 2013.

At the same time, foreclosure auction sales in Colorado's metropolitan counties were down 41.9 percent in February 2013 compared to February 2012, falling from 1,248 to 725 .

Foreclosure filings are the initial filings that begin a foreclosure process, and foreclosure auction sales totals are the total number of foreclosures that have been sold at auction at the end of the foreclosure process.

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"There are few ways to describe this other than as a big drop off in foreclosure filings," said Ryan McMaken, an economist for the Colorado Division of Housing. "It's getting easier to sell a house to get out of trouble. Low mortgage rates and low inventory continue to be big factors."

Comparing foreclosures through February this year to the same period last year, the counties with the largest drops in foreclosure filings were Douglas and Larimer counties, where filings decreased by 44.5 percent and 41.2 percent respectively.

Broomfield County, on the other hand, reported a 6.1 percent increase in foreclosure filings over the same period. It was the only county surveyed to report an increase in foreclosure filings.

All of the 12 counties surveyed showed decreases in foreclosure auction sales during the first two months of 2013 when compared to the same period in 2012. The counties with the largest decreases in foreclosure auction sales, year over year, were Douglas and Jefferson counties, where auction sales decreased by 46.3 percent and 41.0 percent, respectively.

The smallest decreases for the period were found in El Paso and Pueblo counties where auction sales fell 1.9 percent and 20.1 percent, respectively.

The county with the highest rate of foreclosure sales during February was Mesa County, with 1,022 households per foreclosure sale. Pueblo County came in second with 1,351 households per foreclosure sale.

The lowest rate was found in Boulder County, where there were 6,383 households per foreclosure sale.

Howard Pankratz: 303-954-1939, hpankratz@denverpost.com or twitter.com/howardpankratz