In December, 141 foreclosed properties were advertised in the Cherokee Tribune, the county legal organ. That brings the total number of foreclosures for the year to 2,198, a 46 percent reduction from 2012, when 4,101 properties hit the chopping block.
The 141 foreclosures in December also showed about a 40 percent decrease from December 2012.
Dennis Burnette, president and CEO of Cherokee Bank, said there is still much work to be done to get Cherokee County back to the better days it saw about a decade ago, but the foreclosure numbers are a sign of improvement.
“I think that we are nearing an end to the foreclosure crisis,” Burnette said. “For the first time in several years, I am not fearful of foreclosures flooding the market and impeding the positive development in the housing market.”
Burnette said the lack of properties hitting the courthouse steps has driven values on homes in the county up.
“With less foreclosures,” Burnette said, “there’s less distressed property on the market, (increasing prices).”
Wanda Roach, a Realtor with ERA Sunrise Realty, said she sees home prices rising all the time, along with a lack of available houses on the market for sale.
“Prices have increased, the inventory is still low, and we’re seeing multiple offers on homes,” Roach said. “Gone are the days when people say, ‘Can you find me something under $50,000?’ We’re not seeing that kind of a price anymore.”
But while the lack of houses for sale impacts people like Roach each day, she said the decrease in foreclosures is good news for Cherokee County.
“I think that’s just indicative of people being able to keep their houses,” she said. “People have gotten jobs and they’ve been able to stay in their homes. When you start reading the job rate and (such), everything is definitely improving.”