A total of 285 Cherokee County properties were listed for February’s sale at the courthouse in the Jan. 11 edition of the Cherokee Tribune, Cherokee County’s legal organ.
A total of 233 foreclosed properties were advertised in the December 2012 legal notices. In January 2012, 420 foreclosures were advertised.
The year-over-year decrease is a sign of a trend that’s been taking hold since mid-2012, according to ERA Sunrise Realty broker-owner David Moody.
“I think we have been turning a corner for several months,” he said, adding that the market seemed to hit bottom during summer 2012.
Even for foreclosed properties, competition in the local real estate market is heating up.
“If you’re part of the buying public, you need to be prepared. Be ready to buy. Have your loan pre-approved, know what you’re going after and work hard with your agent, if you’re using one. Be prepared for multiple offers,” Moody said.
Moody said move-in ready foreclosures that can be financed are typically getting multiple offers now.
“The ones you see selling at list price or under are the ones that are going for cash only and need repair,” he said.
A higher percentage of foreclosures are now being bought on courthouse steps by investment companies looking to rent the properties, so fewer foreclosures are put out for sale to the public, Moody said.
He said his company’s assignments from federal home loan agency Freddie Mac have dropped 70 percent.
Moody characterized 2012 as “the most affordable house season we’ve seen in history.”
Foreclosures have declined year-over-year on a national level as well. 2012’s foreclosure activity was down 3 percent from 2011 and 36 percent from 2010, according to foreclosure tracking company RealtyTrac.
About 2.3 million foreclosure filings were issued nationwide in 2012.
Georgia had the nation’s fourth-highest foreclosure rate in 2012, coming in behind Florida, Nevada and Arizona.
One in 39 Georgia properties received a foreclosure filing in 2012.
Nationally, December 2012 showed the lowest foreclosure activity level since April 2007. December’s activity reflected a 10 percent drop from the previous month’s.
In December, Georgia ranked seventh nationwide for foreclosures. A total of 7,021 Georgia properties had a foreclosure filing in December.
Foreclosure 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 scheduled for the first Tuesday of each month on the steps of the Cherokee County Courthouse in Canton. February’s auction will be held Feb. 5.