Foreclosure numbers puzzle Horry County real estate watchers

sjones@thesunnews.comDecember 13, 2013 

People who watch Horry County’s real estate statistics were surprised that RealtyTrac’s November report pegged Horry with the fourth highest foreclosure rate in the state, which has the fourth highest rate nationally.

The November report said that one in every 477 housing units in the county were in foreclosure, a 98 percent jump over the October report. According to RealtyTrac, which tracks foreclosures nationwide, the county had 198 new foreclosure filings in October and an additional 384 in November.

RealtyTrac double checked its Horry numbers on Friday, and while they didn’t change, its vice president said the trend for Horry County is headed in the right direction.

“In looking at the more long-term trend, it is still downward in Horry County,” said RealtyTrac vice president Darren Blomquist. “Year-to-date we show 3,215 foreclosure filings in the county, compared to 4,402 in the same time period a year ago, a 27 percent decrease.”

The numbers surprised both Laura Crowther, CEO of the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors, and Todd Woodard, president of SiteTech Systems, which tracks monthly real estate numbers for the area.

Woodard said that 2013 has been one of the slowest of recent years for foreclosures, adding that distressed sales prices are higher and there have been fewer sales of distressed homes and more conventional financing, all positive trends.

He and Crowther both speculated that Horry’s statistical rise might have been because other areas have seen foreclosures fall faster than Horry’s.

Another puzzling part of the report was the fact that the Charleston metropolitan area, the Berkeley County portion of the Charleston area and Beaufort County were the areas that ranked higher than Horry for foreclosures in RealtyTrac’s November report.

“They haven’t shown up on the radar at all,” Crowther said of the Charleston and Hilton Head Island areas. “It’s primarily been us, Spartanburg and the Columbia area.”

The November report said that the Spartanburg metro area had one of every 722 homes in foreclosure and one in 834 in the Columbia area.

Horry had ranked in the top five, but below Spartanburg and Columbia, in earlier RealtyTrac reports, before dropping out of the top tier altogether earlier this year.

Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.

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