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News brief with The Colorado Sun: HOA foreclosures and the state of the drive in

A movie plays on a large outdoor screen at a drive-in theater. In the background, the sky is starting to darken but a little light can still be seen. There are a few cars parked in front of the screen, but not tightly packed.
Olivia Sun
/
The Colorado Sun
Moviegoers watch previews before the screening of “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” at the Holiday Twin.

Each week we talk to our colleagues at the Colorado Sun about the stories they’re following. This time, we talked with Tracy Ross, the Rural, Economic, and Development Reporter with the Colorado Sun. We discussed HOA home foreclosures in Colorado, and the state of the drive-in movie theater.

A Colorado Sun investigation found more than 250 HOA-foreclosed properties have been auctioned off in Colorado since 2018. More than a third of those sold for $60,000 or less. What happens is homeowners fall into debt with their homeowners association and then those homes are sold at seemingly under-the-radar auctions. Investors then purchase the home for a fraction of what it's worth and resell them for huge profits.

“One of the weird things to me is that the foreclosures were initiated for unpaid away debts, not unpaid bank loans on the homes.” said Ross. “So those debts were sometimes as small as a few thousand dollars before they ballooned with interest, attorney's fees, and court costs.”

The investigation found that of the roughly 3,000 foreclosures initiated by HOAs in Colorado since 2018, about 8% resulted in homes being sold at auction. And while the investor makes hundreds of thousands of dollars, the homeowner loses the same amount in equity.

In another story, the future of the drive-in movie theater in Colorado remains unclear. Drive-ins across the country continue to shut down as cities continue to grow. One reason for the decline? As cities get bigger, more surrounding light affects the quality of the drive-in experience.

“Same thing is happening to some of the drive-in owners in Colorado who want to sell because of this," Ross said. "But others are finding cool ways to stay open. And one of the bright lights of this story for me is that drive-in owners in places like Minturn and Center  are finding ways to do that and having success.”

Meanwhile, the 88 Drive-In in Commerce City has announced plans to close, in favor of an 80,500-square-foot multi-tenant warehouse.

Desmond O'Boyle