Foreclosures rise 22 percent in Sept.
by Marcus E. Howard
mhoward@cherokeetribune.com
September 12, 2012 12:50 AM | 2175 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CANTON — Foreclosures are on the rise in Cherokee County, with 345 properties advertised for next month’s auction on the county’s courthouse steps.

That number is up from the 282 properties advertised for the September sale in the Cherokee Tribune, the county’s legal organ, which represents a 22 percent increase. There were 321 properties listed in September 2011.

The properties are scheduled to be sold at the county courthouse on Oct. 2.

There have been more than 2,000 total foreclosure listings advertised in 2012.

Lewis Cline, community executive and senior vice president of Bank of North Georgia in Canton, said he expects the number of foreclosures to have monthly spikes, but on average, experience a decline in the next six months to a year.

“The reason for fewer foreclosures coming to the market is due to new borrower-friendly legislation that include leasing and rental options for families in foreclosure and the $25 billion lenders’ settlement with the federal government,” said Cline.

According to a recent announcement by the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight, about $10.6 billion in mortgage relief has already been paid to homeowners as part of the $25 billion settlement reached in February in light of alleged past foreclosure processing abuses, including “robosigning.”

The nation’s five largest loan servicers — Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Ally/GMAC and Citibank — agreed to provide the $10.6 billion under the settlement struck with 49 states and the federal government.

As part of the deal, banks agreed to reduce the principal on loans and refinance mortgages to lower interest rates. It was reported that $8.7 billion of the $10.6 billion paid went toward short sales, in which lenders agree to accept less than what is owed by sellers on mortgages.

According to RealtyTrac, residential properties linked to foreclosure, either through auction, default or bank-owned, made up 23 percent of home sales in the second quarter, up from 19 percent a year ago and 22 percent in the first quarter.

Cline said the average selling price of a foreclosure has increased 7 percent compared to a year ago.

While there are some positive trends, recovery in the market will be slow as a result of the weak job market, unemployment rate and underemployment rate, he said. Cherokee’s jobless rate was 7.5 percent in July, according to the latest state Labor Department data.

“Only 17 percent of large businesses will be hiring for the remainder 2012 year and many who are finding employment have wages far less than experienced in years past,” Cline said. “Until significant gains are realized in the job market, foreclosures will remain a topic of discussion for 2013 despite attempts from mortgage companies to assist homeowners.”

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