Foreclosure notices continue to decline in Atlanta
Continuing the downward trend, the number of foreclosure notices filed in the Atlanta metro area once again fell this month. Now, analysts are working to identify the cause of the continuing decline, with many hoping it means that the worst of the foreclosure and housing crisis has come and gone in Atlanta.
Foreclosure notices are the first legal step in the foreclosure process, but they do not necessarily mean that a home must be repossessed by the mortgage lender. In some cases, lenders fail to move quickly enough or do not proceed at all. In addition, some homeowners are able to work with lenders to reach a settlement or decrease their loan or monthly payments.
Specifically, there were 7,243 foreclosure notices filed in September. While this is a slight increase from the number filed in August, notices are down 12 percent for the year-to-date. Some analysts believe that this downward trend indicates that foreclosures have peaked, and that lenders are moving into “clean-up mode.”
If this is the case, all metro Atlanta homeowners will likely benefit. As foreclosed homes are removed from the market, housing prices and demand will both rise, allowing the many people with underwater mortgages to recover some of the value of their homes.
Another possible cause is a recent Georgia court decision which ruled that mortgage lenders must include specific information in foreclosure documents. Some believe that this is slowing down the foreclosure process and thereby causing the decline in notice filings.
Regardless, analysts will be watching next month, which has five weeks instead of four, very closely. Generally, there is a 25 percent bump in those long months, and notice numbers declining or remaining steady could indicate that foreclosures are truly on the decline in Atlanta.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Metro foreclosure notices down 12 percent this year,” Christopher Quinn, Sept. 10, 2012
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