In October, 160 foreclosures were advertised in the Cherokee Tribune, the county's legal organ, which counts as a considerable slash from October 2012, when 341 properties were foreclosed on.
For Dennis Burnette, president and CEO of Cherokee Bank, the decrease is a good sign for everyone in Cherokee County.
“I think it’s a very positive indicator for our economy,” said Burnette, who is also a member of the Atlanta Regional Commission. “I think we’re definitely riding the trend down.”
Burnette said the decrease in foreclosures — as has historically been the case — has increased the number of new homes being built and caused an uptick in home prices in general.
Wanda Roach, a Realtor with ERA Sunrise Realty, has seen the number of foreclosures hitting the market decrease, leaving less and less inventory of available homes.
“It’s just dwindled way down,” Roach said. “The listing inventory has not improved. It’s not anywhere near where we were last year.”
Although the numbers continue to trend downward, Burnette said there will always be at least some foreclosures.
“We’re not going to trend down to zero,” he said. “That’s not going to happen. But there are going to be a lot less than what we have seen. I think we’re nearing bottoming out.”
Lewis Cline, senior vice president of Bank of North Georgia, agrees things are improving, although the numbers for October are a bit skewed. In 2012, some of the nation’s leading mortgage lenders had lawsuits pending against them which left many foreclosures in limbo, until around October when the lawsuits were settled and the foreclosures flooded the market, Cline said.
But even with that considered, Cline said many factors are driving foreclosures down in Cherokee.
“With the economy slowly improving, mortgage companies are just a little more helpful in allowing people time to come out of the hole,” he said. “Banks have more capital now with the economy improving, and they’re in a position where they can help home owners more than in the past.”
Cline said this makes for a better situation for everyone, because foreclosures hurt all parties involved.
“It’s not good for the mortgage company, it’s not good for the borrower, and it’s certainly not good for the community in which the foreclosure is in,” he said.
“There’s a lot of cost associated.”