78633861The number of home loans paid off in Colorado was down 28.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the fourth quarter of 2013, but comparing the full year of 2013 to 2012, the total was up 13 percent.

According to a report released Wednesday by the Colorado Division of Housing, public trustees in Colorado released a total of 62,312 deeds of trust during the fourth quarter of 2013, compared to 86,816 released during the fourth quarter of 2012.

Typically, a release of a deed of trust occurs when a real estate loan is paid off whether through refinance, sale of property, or because the owner has made final payment on the loan. Increases in release activity occur as refinance and home-sale activity increases, and rising release totals generally indicate increases in the demand for home loans and real estate.

For the full year of 2013, releases of deeds rose to 344,942, and were at the highest level recorded since 2005 when releases totaled 400,565.

“The fourth quarter of 2013 saw some big drops in release activity in response to interest rates heading up during the second half of the year,” Ryan McMaken, an economist with the Colorado Division of Housing, said in a news release. “There was so much refi and sales activity during the first half of the year though, that 2013 ended up being a bigger year than 2012 overall.”

In El Paso County, the change went from 11,619 releases in the fourth quarter of 2012 to 7,299 in the fourth quarter of 2013, a decrease of 37.2 percent, according to figures released by the state.

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Releases of deeds in the third quarter of 2013 was 10,659. Compared with the 7,299 of the fourth quarter, it is a decrease of 31.5 percent.

The largest decreases were reported in Boulder and Mesa counties where release activity decreased 48.1 percent and 49.1 percent, respectively.

The only increase for the period was in Alamosa County where releases rose 20.9 percent, and the smallest decrease was found in Jefferson County where releases fell 7.0 percent.

Adjusted for the number of existing housing units in each county, the counties with the highest rates of release activity were Summit, Douglas, and Jefferson counties. The counties with the least activity were Fremont, Pueblo and Delta counties.

“We see a similar pattern here to what we see with many other housing indicators,” McMaken said. “Metro Denver and northern Colorado’s high release activity reflect a relatively high demand for real estate while other areas, such as Pueblo and Grand Junction, are showing less activity.”

More than 90 percent of all occupied households in Colorado are within the twenty-one counties chosen.

The full report is available at the Division of Housing blog.