The El Paso County Public Trustee’s Office finished the year with the fewest foreclosure starts since 2006 and the most deed releases – which occur when someone pays off their home over time, through refinancing or a private sale – since 2007.

Mowle’s staff started 230 foreclosures in December.

“While this is 18 more than we started in November, these are each the lowest two months for foreclosures in five years,” Mowle writes in his report.

There were 3,454 foreclosure starts in 2012, 4 percent fewer than in 2011.

While significantly lower than previous years, foreclosure numbers remained higher this year than expected, Mowle said.

“Our 2012 budget projected 3000 foreclosure starts, revised upward mid-year to 3350,” he said.

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His staff projects 2,700 foreclosure starts in 2013.

There were 41,099 deed releases in 2012, up 28 percent from 2011. Release numbers were higher than expected. Mowle only expected 36,000 releases, revised upward mid-year to 38,000.

A lot of the deed release activity can be attributed to more homeowners refinancing because of low interest rates, Mowle has said in the past.

The trustee’s office 2013 budget projects 40,000 releases in the coming year.

The same areas with high foreclosure rates in 2011 topped the list again in 2012, Mowle said.

There were seven zip codes with foreclosure rates greater than 2.5 percent of the single family residences, including townhmes and condominiums. The zip codes in order are: 80916 (Panorama), 80133 (Palmer Lake), 80831 (Peyton/Falcon), 80808 (Calhan/Ellicott), 80910 (Pikes Peak Park), 80951 (Claremont Ranch), and 80817 (Fountain).  This list includes only zip codes with at least 500 SFRs.

“There was not much change from 2011 to 2012 in terms of the areas with the lowest foreclosure rates, either,” Mowle said.

The following zip codes, from lowest to highest, had foreclosure rates of 1 percent or less: 80106 (Elbert/Black Forest), 80924 (Cordera/Wolf Ranch), 80819 (Green Mountain Falls), 80921 (Gleneagle/Northgate), 80829 (Manitou Springs) and 80809 (Cascade/Chipita Park).