More than half of all homes sold in Carroll County last quarter were foreclosure sales, although the numbers are declining somewhat when compared with previous quarters, according to a RealtyTrac report released Thursday. RealtyTrac is a leading online marketplace for foreclosed properties.
From July 1 to Sept. 30, Carroll County had 291 foreclosure sales, down 20.7 percent from 367 sales in the second quarter and down 30.1 percent from 416 sales in the third quarter of 2011.
The average Carroll County home price was $80,032 in the third quarter, down about 2.4 percent from $81,997 in the second quarter. However, the average home price was up 12.1 percent from the third quarter of last year, $71,373.
“The RealtyTrac numbers indicate that Carroll’s foreclosure situation has started to improve,” said Dr. Joey Smith, associate professor and director of the Center for Business & Economic Research at University of West Georgia. “Foreclosure sales are substantially down for Carroll County, year-over-year, and prices have started to rebound a bit. These improvements have been driven by a better West Georgia labor market. A better labor market means fewer families are forced into foreclosure. More jobs also translate into new income-earning residents. These residents buy or rent housing in the area that was once vacant.
“Furthermore, as jobs return to West Georgia, real estate investors can expect rising demand for rental properties, and the deals in bank-owned or HUD-owned housing are becoming harder to find. Real estate agents I have talked with have indicated that some foreclosures are going for higher than the asking price, because investors’ interest in our area is starting to warm up, and competition for available rentable properties is on the rise.”
Rett Harmon, president of the West Metro Board of Realtors, said the inventory of foreclosed homes on the market has gotten lower as bid competition has gotten more intense. This has also driven up the price some.
However, Harmon warned the county could see an increase in the first and second quarters of next year.
“My prediction is there will be more in 2013,” he said. “Some will be coming on the market that didn’t make it this year.”
He noted that his agency, Duffey Realty, gets many inquiries from potential buyers about properties they’ve seen in their neighborhoods that have been vacant awhile, but the foreclosure process is taking time to complete.
“More of these will be coming on the market next year,” he said.
Other nearby counties are having different experiences with foreclosure activity.
In Coweta County, activity remained almost unchanged, with 203 foreclosed homes sold in the third quarter, compared with 202 in the second quarter. Both these figures were up from 156 in the third quarter last year. Only about a third, 33.4 percent, of the Coweta sales last quarter were foreclosure sales.
However, foreclosure sales increased 30.5 percent in Douglas County during the last quarter, going from 285 in the second quarter to 372 in the third quarter. Sales also increased 53.7 percent from 242 in the third quarter of 2011. Last quarter, foreclosures accounted for 57.5 percent of all home sales in Douglas County.
The foreclosure situation looked somewhat similar statewide and in the nation, according to RealtyTrac figures.
In Georgia, during the third quarter, 12,388 foreclosures were sold, about 38.4 percent of home market, with an average selling price of $112,246.
The foreclosures were up from 10,882 last quarter, or 13.8 percent, and up 17.5 percent from 10,542 a year ago. The average home price a year ago wa $117,700.
In the U.S., the average home price was $177,430 last quarter, down from $185,396 the previous quarter, but up from $171,516 a year ago.
Foreclosure sales nationwide were 193,059 last quarter, up 20.7 percent from 159,990 the second quarter, and down 2.9 percent from 198,839 in the third quarter last year.
“The shift toward earlier disposition of distressed properties continued in the third quarter as both lenders and at-risk homeowners are realizing that short sales are often a better alternative than foreclosure,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac. “However, the scheduled expiration of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act at the end of this year could stifle this trend toward short sales. If that law expires as scheduled, homeowners who agree to a short sale could see their income tax jump significantly because the portion of the unpaid loan balance not covered by the short sale proceeds will be considered taxable income in many cases.
“The prospect of being taxed on potentially tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional income may motivate more distressed homeowners to forgo a short sale and allow the home to be foreclosed. Additionally, if the mortgage interest deduction is eliminated due to the fiscal cliff quagmire, it would give many underwater and otherwise distressed homeowners one less reason to hang on to their homes.”
Other nearby counties and their foreclosure figures include:
• Haralson County, 38 homes in foreclosure sales in third quarter, down 32.1 percent, from 56 sales in the second quarter, and down 36.7 percent, from 60 sales in the third quarter a year ago. Average selling price in third quarter was $58,325, down from $63,718 in the second quarter and from $71,616 in the third quarter a year ago. Foreclosure sales represented 37.2 percent of all home sales last quarter.
• Heard County, 5 homes in foreclosure sales, down 50 percent from 10 in the second quarter, and down 44.4 percent from 9 in the third quarter last year. The average home price in the third quarter was $21,500, down from $93,245 in the second quarter, and down from $62,932 in the third quarter last year. Foreclosed homes represented 16.1 percent of all home sales last quarter.
• Paulding County, 303 homes in foreclosure sales in the third quarter, up 26.3 percent from 240 in the second quarter, and up 63.8 percent from 185 sales in the third quarter of last year. Average selling price in the third quarter was $82,887, down from $98,819 in the second quarter and down from $107,227 in the third quarter last year. Foreclosed homes represented 56 percent of all homes sold in the third quarter.