“The economy is getting better and there is more employment, so people are able to pull themselves out of the hole they’ve been in, but at the same time, banks have a lot of different programs to modify their mortgages. … That has to have some effect on reducing the numbers,” Sinclair said.
He works for Harry Norman Realtors and is a third-generation real estate agent.
According to legal notices published in the Marietta Daily Journal on Sept. 6, there are 475 properties up for auction in October, down from 482 properties in September and 847 last September. This month’s figures are also about a third of what they were in 2011, with 1,256 homes up for foreclosure two years ago.
So far in 2013, 4,732 properties have been published for auction. This number is about 1,200 less than the total in 2012, which was 5,916.
Sinclair pointed out that while numbers in September look healthy, there are still a lot of homeowners who have held on to their houses through the recession and could still be facing foreclosure.
“That has a disastrous effect on the property values of homeowners around them,” he said.
Robert Sichel, a business and real estate law professor at Kennesaw State University and real estate and residential attorney with 30-plus years of experience, said decreased foreclosure numbers are a “new reality.”
“Those individuals who were in those bubbles of the foreclosures have either been foreclosed on or taken advantage of the programs offered by the mortgage lenders,” he said.
“The cycle has come so that now people have been able to obtain their mortgages.”
He said the numbers have been slowly decreasing each month for about the last three years.
There were 12,853 homes up for auction in 2011 and 5,916 in 2012, compared to 4,732 so far in 2013.
Sinclair also said that foreclosed homes are selling faster, like most homes now on the market, so residents aren’t seeing as many for sale signs go up in their neighborhoods.
“For Realtors, there aren’t a lot of houses for sale right now,” he said. “It’s a good thing to see the foreclosures slow down, though … that in particular is something people, specifically property owners, are happy to see go away.”
Legal notices for foreclosures are posted for four consecutive Fridays before a property can be sold at auction on the Cobb Superior Courthouse steps in Marietta. Foreclosure auctions begin at 10 a.m. on the first Tuesday of the month on the courthouse steps.