Residential foreclosure filings continue to flood public offices throughout the metro area, with no signs that the record-setting pace of failed home loans will let up.
Foreclosures in the seven-county metro area jumped by nearly a third in the first half of the year compared with the same period in 2005, according to public-trustee counts.
In raw numbers, foreclosure filings rose from 7,144 in the first six months of 2005 to 9,424 for the same period this year, a 31.9 percent increase.
"My desk is just covered," said Adams County public trustee Jeannie Reeser. "I need help."
Reeser said she received 26 foreclosure filings on Monday. On Wednesday, she plans to oversee the sale of 80 homes in foreclosure.
Colorado has led the nation in the percentage of homes in foreclosure in March, April and May, according to RealtyTrac, an online provider of foreclosure listings.
Officials blame loose lending practices and aggressive building for the wave of foreclosures.
These practices have contributed to a record inventory of unsold homes in the metro area and resulted in some of the weakest rates of existing-home price appreciation of any metro area in the country, officials say.
Adams, Arapahoe and Denver counties are the hardest-hit areas, but some of the fastest growth in foreclosures this year is coming in counties that until recently seemed immune.
Jefferson County saw the largest percentage increase in the first half among metro counties, a 42.4 percent rise to 1,471 from 1,033.
Boulder County, where growth limits have contributed to higher median home prices, saw foreclosures rise 30.2 percent - from 318 last year to 414 this year.
At the current pace, the metro area is on track to surpass the old record of 17,122 foreclosures reached in 1988.
Accounting for the increase in population and number of homes since then, the old foreclosure record will still stand on a per-capita basis.
Now, metro-area residents are losing their homes despite a state economy that grew 4.2 percent last year and added about 40,000 jobs, a number that is expected to be matched this year.
"I have always maintained it is the lending practices," said Jill Voegtle, chief deputy public trustee for Denver.
No money down, variable-interest rates and high-interest-rate "subprime" loans have allowed people to get into homes they can't afford to keep, she said.
And builders continue to construct more homes than population growth can justify, economists note.
Public trustees report that the foreclosures they are seeing remain primarily concentrated among lower-priced homes and recent buyers.
The average mortgage on homes going into foreclosure in Arapahoe County is $230,000, said public trustee Mary Wenke.
The average age of the mortgages going bad - only 18 months.
"The loans are upside down, and there is no equity in them," Wenke said. "I have foreclosed on a number of homes that were sold in 2006."
Staff writer Aldo Svaldi can be reached at 303-820-1410 or