Statistics show foreclosures and sheriff's sales are rising in York County.

The numbers aren't as high as they were during the height of the recession, but they're higher than many of the counts logged during the last two years.

"And we don't know why," said Prothonotary Pam Lee.

After decreasing to 74 in October and remaining below 100 through December, foreclosures have reached triple digits this year.

There were 118 foreclosures in January, 160 in February, and the office had 122 on file as of March 20.

Higher numbers made more sense in the past, Lee said.

In 2012, foreclosures increased 78 percent compared to 2011 numbers, as mortgage lenders got caught up on their backlogs, she said.

A hefty supply of foreclosures accumulated during the recession, and banks waited to sell those before listing new ones, Lee said.

But the numbers dropped significantly near the end of 2012 before rebounding this year.

"Maybe banks are catching up on backlogs again, or maybe this is our new normal," she said.

The higher number of foreclosures are also leading to a higher number of sheriff's sales.

Sheriff's sales: There were 266 properties listed for sheriff's sale in February -- the highest number of listings recorded in the county during the last two years -- and 157 of them were sold.

For the sheriff's sale on April 15, 252 properties are listed.

And the number of properties listed for the sale in June could be even higher, a representative of the York County sheriff's office said.

But the higher numbers won't have much of an effect on the local housing market, according to Lee Trite, president of the Realtors Association of York & Adams Counties.

Recent foreclosures have been listed at higher prices than the cheaper sales they're known for, she said.

"Banks aren't putting them on as low as they were. I've shown several that have been updated by the banks and sold at a normal price range," Trite said.

However, she also is unsure why the number of foreclosures and sheriff's sales are increasing in the county.

"I wish I knew, but I don't," she said. "I know there are still people hurting, and our unemployment rate is still high (at 7.9 percent). Maybe it's that."

-- Candy Woodall can also be reached at cwoodall@yorkdispatch.com.