The foreclosure picture in metro Atlanta is getting worse.
The number of foreclosure notices in the 13-county region skyrocketed 59 percent in August from July, shattering the previous monthly record, according to data released Monday by Equity Depot.
“I will say the foreclosure crisis now is clearly a self-feeding monster,” Barry Bramlett, president of Alpharetta-based Equity Depot, said in an e-mail to the AJC. “People are underwater and clearly many are making the judgment that a credit hit is better than throwing money away they don’t feel they’ll recover.”
Bramlett said “this month’s totals are off the charts.”
There were 13,130 foreclosure notices published — up from 8,264 in July. The 59 percent increase is the largest monthly increase on record, Bramlett said. The number of foreclosure notices is 4.5 percent above the previous record set in March.
Some of the increase, perhaps about half of it, can be explained by the calendar, Bramlett said. Lenders had a longer period of time to prepare foreclosure ads than in the previous month. The foreclosure notices published in August are for auctions on the courthouse steps set for next month.
But the two records set in August indicate an intensifying problem, at least in the short-term. Bramlett cautioned, however, not to make too much of one month’s numbers.
“We may go down a similar percentage next month, but won’t know until we get there,” he said. “This month could just be an unexplained anomaly. No way to know until next month.”
Still, over the first eight months of the year, there were about 7,000 more notices published than during the same time last year — a record year.
The silver lining, Bramlett said, is that it’s a good time for cash buyers to pick up cheap properties. Many lenders have reduced the bid amount in auctions “far below the principal in hopes of selling,” Bramlett said.
For the fourth straight month, Gwinnett led the pack with 2,733 notices. Fulton, which often trades places with Gwinnett, came in second again with 2,518. DeKalb was third (2,031), followed by Cobb (1,513) and Clayton (1,067).
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