Atlanta Foreclosure Homes Soared Again Due to Hardship

by Peter Vernon on cities

Atlanta foreclosure homes surged again to a record high in March due to continued economic hardship, based on reports from a Georgia-based research firm.

For the March public foreclosure auctions, a record high total of 12,568 notices were published in the Atlanta metro area which covers 13 counties. The total marked an increase of 22 percent from the 10,318 notices published for the February auctions and a jump of 24 percent from the 10,138 notices published for the March 2009 auctions.

Prior to the March record high total, the highest number of house foreclosures occurred in September last year when 12,318 notices were published for the public auctions.

In metro Atlanta, research firms track published foreclosure notices for properties that will be sold off at public auctions the following month. Typically, on the day of the auctions, the total of foreclosures to be sold off is smaller than the total of published notices as a number of homeowners are able to negotiate with their lenders for more time to restore their accounts.

The continued surge in Atlanta foreclosure homes was caused primarily by the high unemployment rate in the area, which jumped up to 10.8 percent in January, the highest point reached in four decades of recording jobless rates and higher by 0.5 percentage point than the statewide unemployment rate of 10.3 percent.

Unemployment also pushed up the number of Georgia foreclosures, as more than 375,000 jobs have been lost since 2008. Currently, almost half a million Georgia residents are jobless, even excluding the 99,000 residents who have left the state to find work in other places or who have unlisted themselves from the state workforce.

Twelve of the 13 metro areas in Georgia experienced record job losses over the 12-month period to January 2010. Only the Warner-Robins area endured the crisis without any job loss.

The most affected area was Dalton which lost a total of 2,900 jobs. Statewide, 152,000 jobs were lost in 2009, based on figures from the Georgia Department of Labor. The job loss was equivalent to 3.9 percent of the total workforce.

Another reason for the surge in foreclosures is the decision of lenders to pursue foreclosure actions that were deferred last year due to loan modification applications or their own foreclosure control schemes.

With the continuing increase in jobless claims and foreclosure actions by lenders, it is expected that the number of Atlanta foreclosure homes will continue to surge.

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