In August, 85 foreclosed properties were advertised in the Tribune, the county’s legal organ. That is about a 60 percent decrease compared to the 143 properties reported in August 2013.
However, compared to July, the foreclosures have only dropped by two. Last month, 87 foreclosed properties were advertised.
Steve Holcomb, president of United Community Bank and member of the Cherokee County Development Authority, said he expected the numbers to ease off and has anticipated a steadier pace.
“The rate is significantly down in the greater Atlanta area compared to last year, but our unemployment went up just a blip this month, which could have played a factor in the foreclosures. We’re seeing a rise in more companies hiring despite the unemployment numbers, and I feel good about the direction we’re going,” Holcomb said.
Holcomb noted on a national level, only 9 percent of home sales in July were represented by foreclosures and short sales, and the number could have decreased slightly in August.
“I don’t expect to see sudden changes in either direction. Next month, there could be three or four or even more foreclosures sold. But if it took a different path, I wouldn’t be alarmed. We’re continuing to see an easy, not fast, recovery,” Holcomb said.
Dennis Burnette, Cherokee County chairman for Hamilton Bank, said he expects the number of foreclosures to stabilize in the range of 60 to 75 per month for the remainder of 2014.
“The first indication of a downward trend was in 2011 with a decrease, but still high with more than 375 per month. While any foreclosure is a tragic occurrence for the borrower, I think that we are seeing only 85 foreclosures in August is fantastic,” Burnette said. “Such a high number of foreclosures in the past was a significant reason that our new housing market was lackluster. There were too many bargain properties on the market. With foreclosures down, new homes are in demand, and the development and construction industry is once again flourishing.”
Burnette said he expects foreclosures to continue because several mortgage lenders have not successfully resolved the many problem loans. He anticipates that foreclosures will not be lower than 40 or 50 per month going into 2015.
“Individuals will always have to bear the risk of home ownership and the risk of foreclosure when they are confronted with unforeseen circumstances. So there is a floor that we will not go under. That floor will be reached in 2015 and is likely be 40 to 50 per month,” Burnette said.