One in every 240 homes in Carroll County is in foreclosure, according to RealtyTrac data. The number of foreclosures rose by 69 percent from December to January, going from 110 to 186. But, when compared with January of last year, the total was down 51 percent, from 383 last year.
RealtyTrac is a leading online indicator for foreclosures and real estate data.
Dr. Charles Hodges, a professor of business administration at the University of West Georgia, said an increase in January is typical and represents many foreclosures that simply didn’t get filed in December.
“This is something that’s probably seen every year,” Hodges said. “A better comparison is to look at last January, compared to this January.”
Hodges said that when you look at those figures, you can see that foreclosures are significantly down.
“It’s largely because the market is better than it was a year ago,” he said. “When houses go up in value, it reduces the likelihood that the bank will sell the house and the owner’s not going to default on paying the mortgage. All kinds of good things happen to owners when the values are going up.”
Hodges said RealtyTrac is one of the three best measures of foreclosures, but some data doesn’t show up in its figures and some is counted more than once. However, he said it’s a good indicator when looked at year-by-year instead of monthly.
Hodges said the yearly data also show that government programs are having a significant impact on the foreclosure figures.
“We had a huge increase last year in the number of refinances,” he said. “The federal government made many of them mandatory. Many homeowners were able to refinance and are no longer upside down.”
Rett Harmon, president of the West Metro Board of Realtors, said some of the January increase in foreclosures was probably due to banks not wanting to foreclose during the holiday season. He said that last year being an election year could have also resulted in fewer December foreclosures, since the December numbers represent foreclosures started in September or October.
“Home inventory has gotten low and there’s a lot of pent-up demand which will bring prices up more since there’s fewer homes to choose from,” Harmon said. “This January and February have been a lot busier than January and February of the past five years. People are actively engaged in looking at property. There’s still a lot of deals that can’t get through, but the demand is up and people are more interested than in the past.”
Chris Collier, executive officer of Westside Home Builders Association, said the current inventory of foreclosed homes on the market is at a record low and that is driving prices up.
“There’s quite a few bidders for these homes and many times the banks buy them back if the bid doesn’t reach a minimum acceptable level,” Collier said.
Hodges said a lot of the foreclosed home buyers are “bulk buyers,” who purchase them in quantity for rental property.
“Banks are often able to sell many of them at one time and they don’t have to go to the courthouse steps,” he added.
Douglas County is ranked first in Georgia foreclosures, with one in every 200 homes in foreclosure. The number of foreclosures increased from 177 in December to 256 in January, an increase of 44 percent, and were up from 231 last January, an increase of 10 percent.
Paulding County is ranked 12th in foreclosures, with one in every 318 in foreclosure. The number of foreclosures increased from 139 in December to 162 in January, a 16 percent increase, but were down 41 percent from January of a year ago, with 277 foreclosures.
Coweta County is ranked 20th in foreclosures, with one in every 390. The number of foreclosures increased from 91 in December to 127 in January, a 39 percent increase, but were down from 131 last January, a 3 percent decrease.
In Georgia, foreclosures decreased by 12 percent since December and 36 percent from January a year ago.
Nationwide, foreclosures were down 7 percent from December and 28 percent from January a year ago.