Listings indicate 718 houses are set to go up for auction, down nearly 50 percent from the 1,429 foreclosures at the December 2011 auction.
The 10,473 foreclosures so far in 2012 in Cobb are down about 19 percent from the 12,853 through December of 2011.
The foreclosure auction begins at 10 a.m. on the first Tuesday of each month on the steps of the Cobb Justice Center. Legal notices must be published for four consecutive Fridays before a property can be sold at auction. Not all advertised properties end up at auction.
Don Sabbarese, director of Kennesaw State University’s econometric center, said not to read too much into a one-month drop.
“If I see three months of that type of stuff going on, you might say that’s a trend,” he said. “You’ve got to be careful when all of a sudden you see a large decrease.”
Still, Sabbarese said there are signs that the housing market is bottoming out.
“Going forward, we think there are going to be less foreclosures,” he said. “A lot of them have been moved off the market.”
Todd Tucker, managing broker at Prudential Georgia Realty’s east Cobb office, said some investors are showing up at the monthly foreclosure auction and buying homes in groups of up to 20. About 80 percent of those are rented out with hopes of selling to either homeowners or other investors when the market improves.
Fewer foreclosures dragging down property values means existing homeowners could see a bit of an increase in the values in 2013, Tucker said.
“What that is doing for us is allowing our resale listings to get more activity,” Tucker said. “The price and value is increasing, and we are getting a decent value for resale homes because the competition is much less.”
Tucker said research he views shows the market picking up quicker in east Cobb, defined as anyplace in the county east of Interstate 75, compared to west Cobb. Factors include east Cobb’s proximity to Atlanta and high schools like Walton, Pope and Lassiter.
“We see people buying in those districts whether they have kids or not, just for the resale,” he said.
Sabbarese said not to expect Tuesday’s re-election of President Barack Obama to have a major impact on foreclosures one way or the other.
“It may have an impact on what happens in the stock market, but not in the investment market,” he said.