Update on Charleston’s Foreclosure Market

Tuesday I attended the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors Mid-Year Market Update to get a sense of how the economy and real estate market are doing from the expert standpoint.  While we had three different speakers, the information that most stood out to me was provided by Judge Mikell Scarborough.  You’ll know his name if you’ve ever been to the courthouse auctions as he presides over the Master-in-Equity.

As you know, for a couple years I have been following these auctions, attending them and reporting on items of interest in my series about Bank-owned and auction properties.  I haven’t had much to report as of late – the reason why, you’ll find out below.  So here are a few interesting highlights and his full presentation is below.  Stay tuned!

  • There was a peak of 100 foreclosure sales in February 2011, followed by a decline to a low of 37 in June.  However, the sales are expected to pick back up.
  • The reason for the decline is because a moratorium was placed on the sale of owner-occupied properties.  From May to July, only second homes, investment properties and commercial ones were auctioned.
  • Judge Scarborough said that the moratorium is about to be lifted, so we should expect to see a significant increase in these courthouse sales of owner-occupied homes, starting as soon as this week.
  • To get a sense of how significant the increase in foreclosures has been since 2007, take a look at Charleston County’s revenue.  They receive 1% of each sale, with a minimum of $25 and a maximum of $2500.  Revenue has gone from $404K in 2007 to $2.2M this year so far.
  • Judge Scarborough believes it will take until 2013 or 2014 to return to a ‘normal’ level of foreclosure sales.



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