A total of 233 properties were listed for foreclosure auction in Friday’s Cherokee Tribune, the county’s legal organ.
In November, 263 properties were listed for auction. December 2011 saw 283 properties listed. This month’s listings represent an 11.4 percent decline from November and a 17.7 percent decline from December 2011.
Last week’s listings bring the total number of properties listed for foreclosure auction in Cherokee County this year to 3,736. In December 2011, that total was 4,371 properties. The number of Cherokee County properties listed for foreclosure in 2012 represents a 14.5 percent decrease from 2011’s listings.
Georgia ranked eighth in the nation for foreclosures in November, behind Florida, Nevada, Illinois, California, South Carolina and Ohio, according to RealtyTrac, a company that tracks national foreclosure data.
Statewide, 8,272 Georgia properties had foreclosure filings in November, down 11 percent from October 2012 and 33 percent from last November.
Nationally, filings were down 3 percent from October and down 19 percent from November 2011.
“The drop in overall foreclosure activity in November was caused largely by a 71-month low in foreclosure starts for the month, more evidence that we are past the worst of the foreclosure problem brought about by the housing bubble bursting six years ago,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.
John Cenni of Keller Williams Realty said the decline in the number of foreclosed properties has created a seller’s market in metro Atlanta for homes priced under $500,000.
“The competition is so great that even investors are scrambling to buy these foreclosures. There just aren’t a lot on the market right now, and that’s pushing the prices higher,” he said.
Lewis Cline, senior vice president of Bank of North Georgia, said homeowners have had more options for avoiding foreclosure in 2012.
“There are more options, more government programs. Some lenders are doing rent rather than dispossessing the family. There are more options, and lenders have been a little more friendly to work with,” he said.
Cline said foreclosure numbers should continue to decline moderately in 2013, though he expects a spike in the first quarter.
“Overall, year to year, I think we will continue to see some decline,” he said.
Cenni said housing prices should continue to rise at a modest level next year.
Legal notices must be published for four consecutive Fridays before a property can be sold at auction. Not all properties advertised end up at auction.
Auctions are normally scheduled for the first Tuesday of each month on the steps of the Cherokee County Courthouse in Canton. January’s auction will be held Wednesday, Jan. 2, because of the New Year’s Day holiday.