Foreclosures on the rise in Park City
Officials say Summit County is not in an economic recession even with the number of Park City homes in foreclosure increasing.
Among states with the highest foreclosure rates, Utah ranks 9th, according to realtytrac.com, a Web site that posts foreclosure numbers nationwide.
But properties listed on the Web site include default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions, explained Tyler Richardson, president of the Park City Board of Realtors.
"In Utah and in Park City we have seen an increase, but not to the extent of the rest of the nation," Richardson said in a telephone interview. "There are definitely more foreclosures and more short sales out there than there were a year ago, but it’s not a huge increase."
Twenty-two bank-owned properties posted in western Summit County on realtytrac.com include homes on Saddleback Road, Willow Loop and Sidewinder Drive in Prospector.
But auctions are slated for several Park City houses listed on the Web site, Richardson said, adding that "they’re not actual foreclosures yet."
"[RealtyTrac counts] notices of default which are not actual foreclosures, a number of those get sold or remedied," Richardson said.
According to the Web site, the nation’s highest foreclosure rates are in Nevada, California, Florida and Arizona.
Foreclosures in the United States increased eight percent in July from the month before and 55 percent from July 2007, according to James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac.
Foreclosures in Summit County are also expected to rise when new numbers are soon released by the Mortgage Bankers Association, Richardson said.
Meanwhile, despite slumping real-estate sales, Summit County Auditor Blake Frazier said the area is not in a recession.
"Our budgets are not being impacted at this time and we are not going to cut budgets for the rest of this year," Frazier told the Summit County Commission Wednesday.
But revenue from sales taxes could decrease if the economy worsens, Frazier said.
"We are in a very fluid economy and we have a lot of high-dollar individuals. Our sales tax revenues have not decreased at this point in time," Frazier said. "But they could decrease somewhat if things get tighter."
Sales tax receipts in a recession could drop 30 percent, Frazier said.
Six straight months of a shrinking economy could indicate an economic recession as housing, credit and financial crises batter the nation. A recession in Summit County could mean government coffers suffer a $5 million hit, which is about 10 percent of the county’s $50 million budget.
Still, some local officials claim the tourism-heavy economy in Park City might be recession proof.
But building fees Summit County collects from developers are down, Frazier explained.
"They would be the first to follow the real-estate sales market," Summit County Commissioner Bob Richer replied. "With real-estate sales continuing to be down about 40 to 45 percent, you’re going to see that continue."
County department heads were asked to trim their budgets by up to 20 percent should an economic downturn slam Park City.
"If things got bad, [the Summit County Community Development Department] would probably be an area where layoffs would be appropriate at some point in time," Frazier said.
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The opposition to a proposal for a development at Park City Mountain Resort has enlisted a veteran of the intense dispute regarding Treasure, which unfolded over the course of years and offered some parallels to the talks regarding the PCMR project.