County foreclosure rate low

Published 11:59 pm Thursday, January 1, 2009

Although many Americans are losing their homes due to the economic downturn, that trend does not seem to have made its way to Covington County and the state of Alabama.

According to the RealtyTrac U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, just 613 Alabama properties were foreclosed upon in November 2008. The state’s ranking of one foreclosure for every 3,442 properties ranked 40th among U.S. states. The national average is one foreclosure for every 488 housing units.

In Covington County, the numbers are even lower. There were four foreclosures filed in the county in November, a rate of one in every 4,737 housing units — an average that is 73 percent of Alabama’s rate and only 10 percent of the U.S. rate.

Debra Donaldson, president of the Covington Association of Realtors, said the county’s low foreclosure rate can be attributed to a strong local job market.

“I think the reason we’re not having it as bad is because we have stable employment in the county,” Donaldson said. “We’ve had a couple of companies open up recently — especially out at the airport — and they’re bringing in higher paying jobs.”

St. Clair County led the state, with one foreclosure for every 1,018 housing units. Baldwin County ranked second, with a rate of one in every 1,483 units. Colbert County had the state’s lowest foreclosure rate — one of every 26,039 units.

“We don’t like to see foreclosures,” Donaldson said. “A foreclosure means that you’re seeing a family lose their home, and they’re also losing a part of themselves and a major investment. Foreclosure is always the last resort.”