Home buying, refinancing up sharply

BOULDER – Home-refinancing and home-buying activity increased 27.2 percent in Boulder County in 2012 compared with 2011, according to new deed-of-trust statistics from the Colorado Division of Housing.

In a deed of trust, legal title to real property is transferred to a trustee who holds it as security for a loan between a borrower and lender.

Home-refinancing and home-buying activity in Broomfield County increased 30.9 percent in the same time period, according to the report. Increased deed-of-trust activity is an indicator that the overall state economy is getting better, said Ryan McMaken, a spokesman for the Division of Housing.

Across the state, total deed-of-trust releases were up 29.4 percent in 2012 from 2011, McMaken said.

The number of deeds of trust released at county public trustee offices are a general index of the demand for real estate across the state, McMaken said. Deeds of trust are released at county offices when homeowners refinance homes, sell them or pay them off, he said.

Anecdotally, refinance loans appeared to drive the largest amount of the deed-of-trust activity in 2012, McMaken said. He said he did not have the information necessary to calculate figures to show the number of refinanced loans and sold homes compared with paid-off mortgages. But the number of homeowners who pay off their mortgages every year is very small, McMaken said.

Interest rates on 30-year fixed mortgage loans averaged 3.66 percent in 2012, down from 4.46 percent in 2011, using the St. Louis Federal Reserve rate, McMaken said.

McMaken said he started releasing state deed-of-trust figures in the third quarter of 2011 as a “positive indicator” of the economy. The state also releases home foreclosure activity. Information is collected from public trustee offices in counties across the state.

When the number of deed-of-trust releases decline in a specific period, it can be an indicator of a “flat” or “slow” real estate market, McMaken said in a press statement. The Division of Housing operates under the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.

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