Atlanta Foreclosures Dipped, but Expected to Rise Again- By: John Cutts
The number of Atlanta foreclosures listed in January for the February public auctions dipped, but is expected to rise again in February, based on data from real estate analyst Equity Depot.
More than 8,100 homes in the Atlanta metro area were notified of foreclosure in the first days of January, marking a three-percent drop from January 2009 and a 21-percent decrease from December. These properties are scheduled for public auctions in February.
Under foreclosure laws in Georgia, foreclosure notices must be published in a newspaper distributed in the county where the property is located once a week for 4 weeks prior to the auction, so foreclosures are counted in advance. Owners of delinquent properties must also be notified by registered mail not less than 15 days prior to the auction.
Barry Bramlett, president of Equity Depot, said that the decrease in foreclosures in January does not indicate that the market is recovering. Decreases in a quarter are more significant, he added. Other analysts also said that filings dropped because major lenders suspended pre foreclosures during the holidays.
Meanwhile, Eugene James, head of the Atlanta division of Metrostudy, said that what has been rising is the percentage of Atlanta foreclosures in the commercial property sector. He said that commercial foreclosures, which are currently about 10 percent of total property listings, are growing significantly.
Early this month, two high-profile buildings were put into foreclosure – the 20-story Campanile Building and a prime lot in Midtown. Campanile owner Transwestern Investment owed Wells Fargo a total of $98.35 million while prime lot owner Tivoli Realty Properties owed First Citizens Bank and Trust a total of $13.5 million.
Based on the report from Equity Depot, among the 13 counties that comprise the metro Atlanta area, Fulton County posted the biggest number of home foreclosures for the February public auctions with a total of 1,716. Gwinnett followed with 1,617; DeKalb with 1,230; and Cobb with 870; Clayton posted a total of 673.
Cobb and Clayton had significant drops in foreclosures as they fell from their respective benchmarks of 930 units and 700 units in January, but buyers looking for fixer uppers can still find units in these counties.
Statewide, based on a report from another research firm, foreclosure filings increased by nearly 25 percent from 2008 to a total of 106,110 filings in 2009. The number marked a nearly 80-percent increase from 2007.
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John Cutts has been educated in the finer points of the foreclosure market over 5 years.