Releases of deeds of trust in Colorado increased 2.4 percent year-over-year in the first quarter from 73,025 to 74,808, indicating economic improvement.

Releases were also up year-over-year in both Larimer and Weld Counties, according to the most recent data provided by the Colorado Division of Housing.

In the first quarter, releases of deeds of trust increased 1.8 percent from 5,547 in 2011 to 5,646 in Larimer County. In Weld County, the number increased 2.4 percent from 3,009 to 3,081 in the same period.

A deed of trust is defined by the Division of Housing as a lien on real property to secure payment of an indebtedness. An increase in the number of deeds of trust released is usually a sign of an increase in refinance and home purchase activity.

Deeds of trust can be released either by refinancing a home or by a homeowner paying off a mortgage.