“I think it’s just another sign that the housing market is turning the corner,” said Tutterow, a professor of economics at Mercer University and a resident of Smyrna.
According to legal notices published in the Marietta Daily Journal for August, there are 482 properties published for auction in September, down 696 from the same time one year ago of 1,178.
Cobb has seen 4,257 properties enter foreclosure so far this year, compared to the 7,094 homes published for foreclosure during the same period last year, a 2,837 decrease.
“Having a reduction in foreclosures is important because as foreclosed properties came back on the market, they were competing with properties that were already out there, and it was kind of holding back some of the recovery and home prices,” Tutterow said.
Home prices over the last year, he said, have been rising in metro Atlanta by almost 20 percent
as measured by the Case-Shiller index.
Cobb’s foreclosure numbers are consistent with year-to-date numbers for metro Atlanta and the state, said Don Sabbarese, director of the Econometric Center at Kennesaw State University.
“The foreclosure inventory is down due to the fact that Georgia as a non-judicial foreclosure state has the fifth highest foreclosure completion rate in the nation,” Sabbarese said.
Sabbarese also referenced the 20 percent hike in home prices.
“These strong price increases continue to create strong incentives for investors and prospective home buyers to draw down the foreclosure inventories,” he said. “As a result, it drives up demand and increases prices for the already extremely tight inventories in metro Atlanta.”
The overall message bodes well for Georgia’s housing market since fewer foreclosures on the market help raise the values of non-foreclosure homes in the metro area, he said.
County Chairman Tim Lee called the dramatic decrease in foreclosures another welcome indication that both the real estate market and employment situation are improving.
“Job creation has been a key component in our economic recovery and that directly impacts Cobb’s homeowners,” Lee said. “A foreclosure is a tough experience for any family and to see that number cut in half is great news.”
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 sales begin at 10 a.m. on the first Tuesday of the month.