March foreclosure number lowest in years

by Sarah Fay Campbell

Coweta County’s housing market is “great,” according to the president of the Coweta County Board of Realtors.

“It has really picked up,” said Susie Walker, board president and a Realtor with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers.

Foreclosures have dropped to levels not seen in many years. For March, there are just 49 foreclosure-related advertisements in The Newnan Times-Herald. That’s the lowest number since statistics started being kept in 2006. The lowest number of foreclosures in one month in 2006 was 60, in April 2006.

Most of this month’s foreclosures are single-family homes.

Those that are not include a portion of the Ashley Park shopping center owned by Fourth Quarter Properties 104. The same property was previously advertised for foreclosures in November and December 2013, and in February.

Also advertised are 24 acres owned by Coweta County LTC, LLC, located off Newnan Lakes Boulevard, and a portion of the Huntington Forest Subdivision owned by Palmetto Properties Inc.

Foreclosure numbers have been going down steadily for the past year, and the numbers have been under 100 a month since August 2013.

As foreclosures have gone down, so has the supply of available homes for buyers.

“We need more inventory. We are very low on inventory,” said Walker. For people who are wanting to sell, “it’s a good time to put those on the market.”

But it’s still a good time to buy, as well, she said. Interest rates remain below 5 percent.

The lowest inventory is for the lowest priced homes. “It is getting harder and harder to find homes under $50,000,” Walker said. But people are still looking for great deals.

There is also a shortage of homes in the “$100,000 to high $200s,” Walker said.

“New construction is really picking back up,” Walker said. “We’d like to see a lot more.” But it can still be tough for builders to get loans to build new houses.

“Most things that are coming out new are going under contract quickly,” she said.

Prices have moved up from the rock-bottom level they were at a few years ago.

The market has “finally made its correction. So things are getting back to where they should be,” Walker said.

Changes in lending standards are helping make the market more stable.

“You don’t have any more of those types of loans that got us into trouble,” Walker said.

The improvement in the housing market affects more than just those buying or selling homes.

“So much of our economy is based on real estate,” Walker said. An improving housing market means more jobs for builders, plumbers, electricians, and others. “And that puts money back into the economy,” she said.

Coweta County “is very fortunate that we have picked up,” Walker said. “There are some areas that have not bounced back as much.”

Walker said things really started picking up at the end of 2013.

People often ask Walker how the real estate market is doing.

“I say, ‘I think I survived the worst of it,’” she said. “We are seeing improvements, and a lot of it has to do with the market correcting itself.”



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