Local home repos hold steady

Published 12:31 am Saturday, February 12, 2011

Home foreclosure trends were down in Alabama last month, and slightly up across the nation. In Covington County, real estate officials said, the number is steady.

Statewide filings continue to decline, according to RealtyTrac, a foreclosure-listing firm, which reported there were 1,642 foreclosure filings in the state in January, according to the most recent data available.

The company considers a foreclosure filing as a bank repossession of a home, a default notice or a scheduled auction.

January’s figures are down from November’s high of 2,754 statewide foreclosures.

That equates to one foreclosure for every 1,315 homes in the state, which puts Alabama at 16th best in the nation.

Locally, RealtyTrac’s data shows there were 11 foreclosure filings in January, a number with which Covington Association of Realtors immediate past president Debra Donaldson agrees.

“I know of at least 10 on the market right now,” she said.

Donaldson said that the number of foreclosures in Covington County have averaged around 10 in the past few years.

“The number of foreclosures in our area are not as high as larger towns,” she said. “The foreclosure companies seem to be not as aggressive right now.”

The relative health of the county’s economy has helped keep the number of foreclosures down.

Instead of seeing many business closings, the county expects to add jobs in the aerospace, automotive manufacturing and health care industries, which should help keep the numbers down.

On the national scene, the picture isn’t as healthy.

Foreclosure filings nationwide edged up 1 percent from December to 261,333, but the total is a 17 percent decrease from last year.

Neighboring states of Florida and Georgia are among the top 10 for the largest number of foreclosure listings in the last year.

Florida sits at No. 9 with 21,671 properties listed in 2010, which equates to one in every 409 households.

Georgia came in at No. 7 with 12,772 listed last year, which equates to one in every 318 households.

Nevada, where there was a foreclosure for every 93 homes in the state, was hit worst.

“We’ve now seen three straight months with fewer than 300,000 properties receiving foreclosure listings, following 20 straight months were the total exceeded 300,000,” RealtyTrac CEO James J. Saccacio said in a press release this week. “Unfortunately, this is less a sign of a robust housing recovery and more a sign that lenders have become bogged down in reviewing procedures, resubmitting paperwork and formulating legal arguments related to accusations of improper foreclosure processing.”