The housing market is a useful indicator for analyzing the economy and lately in the US it is improving. Across the nation the foreclosure rate is down nearly 37 percent from this time last year and in Casper the conditions are favorable to avoid losing a home.
Real estate may be looking good now, but Natrona County Sheriff Gus Holbrook remembers a time when it was awful.
Sheriff Gus Holbrook said, "At one point we were selling approximately 20 houses a week on foreclosure."
That was back in the 80's in the midst of The Oil Stagflation and now decades later, after the national housing bubble burst, he says things have dramatically calmed.
Holbrook said, "Right now were selling maybe one or two houses a week."
While Holbrook notices foreclosures are down, he also sees demand for houses is up compared to previous years.
Holbrook said, "We have so many people coming in for the jobs and for the oil field and energy that its hard to find houses right now."
The Casper housing market has about a one month supply. Less than one half of the recommended availability for a balanced market. Real estate agents notice this and say it is a big reason people in Casper aren't defaulting on payments.
Diego Nicholas of Broker One Real Estate said, "Its easier for us to get houses sold when its more of a sellers market, so that's why things are selling faster instead of having to do a shortsale or foreclosure."
At Hilltop National Bank, mortgage brokers know this to be true, as they have a good handle on limiting foreclosed homes.
Hilltop National Bank Vice President and Manager of Real Estate Loans Carol Wilson said, "We have zero foreclosures and we haven't had a foreclosure in over twenty years."
Wilson says many people who might need to default can avoid it simply because Casper homes tend to be valuable.
Wilson said, "We don't have a lot of people who are upside-down in their values that they owe as compared to what it's worth."
She says a key factor why mortgages held at Hilltop avoid that foreclosure process is because the loan officers always held proper loan standards, even when the federal regulations didn't require it.
Wilson said, "They went from really laxed, hardly any requirements, to just tough; can't hardly get a loan. Now they're easing up a little bit and I think they're about where they need to be."
Wilson adds while people may not want to hear they shouldn't be purchasing a particular home, it is important for them to consider the addition costs which come with ownership. If you are looking into purchasing a foreclosure the auctions take place on Thursdays on the steps of the Natrona County Court House.