ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Home foreclosures remain a serious problem in our area. The foreclosure rate is down in Atlanta, but that's not the case in much of Georgia. The rate remains steady in Dougherty County.
Each month, there are as many as 50 foreclosures in the newspaper. Some predict the numbers could stay the same for at least a year. They say locally we're still feeling the effects of closures from Bob's, Merck, and of course Cooper Tire, and while the numbers look good this month in Atlanta, many expect there will still be spikes of foreclosures for the next year.
There are more than 40 legal notices for foreclosure in Albany's newspaper, despite a drop in the number of foreclosures for June in metro Atlanta. Foreclosure signs can be found as close at Stuart Avenue.
"That's an incredible number of homes up for foreclosure and foreclosures are bad for just everybody because they leave neighborhoods vacant," said attorney Walter Kelley of Kelley, Lovett, & Blakey.
Real Estate agents are taking a more positive look at the decrease and say it's a sign the real estate market is improving.
Attorneys who deal with foreclosures aren't as positive. "I think what we're going to see in the near future of this year the foreclosures will continue on a steady pace. I don't see anything on the horizon that's going to help the average homeowner keep that property," said Kelley.
Real Estate agents say the alternative to a foreclosure can be a short sale, and banks are more willing to consider the option because of costs, but not everyone can qualify.
"It's very costly for them to foreclose a house, put it back on the market, have to maybe repair the house and do things to it," said Gary Eller of the Albany Board of Realtors.
"To do a short sale you have to have the cooperation of the lender and any lien holders. You can't have a judgement against you to qualify," Kelley said.
While the numbers show a downward trend, foreclosures are still up through July when compared to last year.
Attorneys also warn those facing foreclosure from getting wrapped up in the companies who advertise on the side of the road. They say claims that they can get you out of foreclosure for a fee will likely cost you more than you bargain for.
For the Atlanta metro market there have been more than 69,400 foreclosure notices through July. That compares to 65,500 through July of last year.