But the rise was likely due to a number of delayed foreclosures left over from last year that were pushed through last month, said industry sources.
“I wouldn’t put too much stock in one month,” said Dr. Joey Smith, assistant professor of economics at University of West Georgia. “Banks don’t process foreclosures every day. They sometimes stockpile them and process multiple foreclosures at a time and they all show up in one month.”
He said foreclosure comparisons over a year’s period are more relevant. Carroll County foreclosures for the year of 2011 were down 16.25 percent from 2010.
According to data released Wednesday by RealtyTrac, the leading online marketplace for foreclosed properties, Carroll County had 383 foreclosures in January, up from 130 in December, and up from 298 in January 2011, a 28 percent rise.
One in 116 homes in Carroll County was in foreclosure, the second highest ranking in the state.
“We expect the pattern of increasing foreclosures to continue in the coming months, especially given the finalized mortgage and foreclosure settlement reached in early February between 49 state attorneys general and five of the nation’s largest lenders,” said Brandon Moore, RealtyTrac CEO.
“The settlement sets forth clear guidelines for lenders and servicers to follow when foreclosing, which should allow them to push through some of the delayed foreclosures from last year. Other roadblocks to foreclosures are still in place at the state level, however, including legislation altering the foreclosure process and lawsuits against lenders. We expect to see somewhat uneven trends in local and regional foreclosure numbers going forward as lenders work through these additional legislative and legal roadblocks.”
Walton County also had one in 116 homes in foreclosure in January, but was ranked first in Georgia by RealtyTrac.
Nationwide, Georgia ranked fourth, with one in every 328 homes in foreclosure. Georgia had 12,467 foreclosures in January, compared to 10,657 in December, a 17 percent increase. However, compared with January a year ago, the number was down 2 percent from 12,772.
In counties neighboring Carroll, the figures included:
• Douglas County had 231 foreclosures in January, down 14 percent from 269 in December, and down 20 percent from 291 last January;
• Coweta County had 131 foreclosures in January, down 16 percent from 157 in December, and down 13 percent from 151 last January;
• Haralson County had 39 foreclosures in January, up 30 percent from 30 in December, and up 5 percent from 37 last January;
• Heard County had 4 foreclosures in January, down 20 percent from 5 in December, and down 63 percent from 11 last January;
• and Paulding County had 277 foreclosures in January, up 91 percent from 145 in December, and up 11 percent from 249 last January.
A landmark multi-billion dollar settlement was announced Feb. 9 to address abuses by lenders, with 49 states joining in the $25 billion deal in exchange for resolving civil lawsuits about misconduct in servicing home loans and pursuing faulty foreclosures.
The settlement would require banks to provide $25 billion in loan write-downs, refinancing and other borrower assistance, as well as cash penalties for financial institutions. It would also require the lenders involved in the settlement to abide by standard servicing rules when foreclosing, as well as working with homeowners interested in foreclosure alternatives, such as loan modification and short sales.