CANTON — Foreclosure numbers in Cherokee County have taken a considerable dive in the month of May, with just 183 advertised in the Cherokee Tribune, the county’s legal organ.
May’s foreclosure numbers are down from 219 in April, and are still further down from May 2012, when 387 homes were up for foreclosure in Cherokee.
Wanda Roach, a Realtor with ERA Sunrise Realty, said Friday that the numbers are encouraging.
“I think there are a lot of positive signs,” she said.
Roach said several factors are at play driving foreclosure numbers down.
One of these factors is something called a “short sale,” which is when a bank accepts less than what is owed on a home as a means of avoiding foreclosure.
“Banks are a little more willing to deal with (homeowners) in a short sale situation,” Roach said.
The downturn in unemployment figures in recent months for Cherokee County doesn’t hurt things either, she said.
“Overall, employment is better, we’re up a little bit,” Roach said. “I think people are just able to keep their homes.”
Roach said those not able to keep their homes have also benefitted from the recent uptick in home values and been able to sell out at greater amounts.
“There’s not very much inventory, so where buyers had many homes to see, they don’t have quite as many to see now,” she said. “We’re seeing multiple offers on homes. Some people are coming out from being under water with their homes (and are able to sell).”
Cherokee Bank President and CEO Dennis Burnette agreed Friday that foreclosures are being driven down by homeowners selling their homes.
“There’s been very little new construction, so there’s more demand for homes,” Burnette said. “So if you get in trouble, you’re able to sell your house.”
Burnette said demand is so high that “We’re hearing stories of houses selling for more than the listing price.”
“We’re bouncing off the bottom,” Burnette said. “I think we’ve reached the bottom.”