According to the Colorado Division of Housing, the number of home loans paid off in Colorado fell 49 percent from the first quarter of 2013 to the first quarter of 2014. The report found that approximately 50,000 deeds of trust were released during Q1 2014, the lowest quarterly total recorded in any quarter since the division began collecting data in 2008.
Roughly 98,000 deeds were released during the first quarter of last year.
The release noted, "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 the final payment on the loan. Decreases in release activity occur as refinance and home-sale activity decreases, and rising release totals typically indicate increases in the demand for home loans and real estate."
Release activity also fell from the fourth quarter of 2013 to the first quarter of 2014, dropping 19.6 percent. During the fourth quarter of last year, approximately 62,000 deeds were released.
"This is the fourth quarter in a row of declines in release activity, and it looks like the most recent refinance boom is already over," said Ryan McMaken, an economist with the Colorado Division of Housing. "Mortgage rates are still low compared to where they were in 2008, but we've seen some significant increases in rates since 2012."
Trends in activity varied across the state, although 21 surveyed counties reported decreases in release activity from Q1 2013 to Q1 2014. The largest decrease in activity was reported in Broomfield county, where release activity decreased 61.5 percent. The smallest activity was in Eagle county—21.1 percent of homes were released.
Overall, McMaken believes that economic activity plays a large part in whether homes are being paid in full.
"Release activity is still relatively strong in some high-income areas and places with strong employment," McMaken said.