Foreclosures are falling in York County, but the effects of post-recession highs are still evident.
Since 2009, county Prothonotary Pam Lee has received hundreds of filings nearly every month. And the high number of foreclosures has led to a high number of sheriff's sales that are still cycling through the judicial process.
Some 274 properties are listed for sheriff's sale on Monday, Aug. 4. That's a big jump from the 201 listed in June, but in line with the number of properties listed for the first two sales of 2014.
Meanwhile, 115 properties went into foreclosure in June. That's down from 154 foreclosures in June 2013.
"Foreclosures have been lower every month this year, compared to last year, except for January," Lee said.
There were 158 foreclosures in January, compared to 118 during the same month a year ago.
How it works: Sheriff's sales are the second part of a cause-and-effect relationship with foreclosures. When a mortgage borrower fails to pay the amount due on a home loan, lenders can file judicial foreclosure, allowing them to sell the property and pay off the outstanding debt.
That sale of property is carried out by the local sheriff.
"It takes a while for the foreclosures to work through the system. Now that ours are coming down, I think we'll eventually see lower sheriff's sale numbers," Lee said.
But not yet.
June was the only month in which sheriff's sales were lower than last year. There were 201 properties listed for the sale on June 9, and 275 were listed in June 2013. The numbers for the February, April and August sheriff's sales are all higher than a year ago.
More coming: The sheriff's office continues to receive a high number of property listings and expects about 300 will be posted for sale in October, said Kathy Holes, a representative in the county sheriff's office.
"They went down in June, but August is back up to April's numbers," she said.
Foreclosures aren't just falling in York County; that's the trend across the country.
This week, MarketWatch reported that 47,000 foreclosures were completed in May, down from 52,000 a year ago — a decrease of about 10 percent.
But a report from CoreLogic, a mortgage-data firm, shows completed foreclosures are still double what they were before the housing market crash in 2007.
The York County housing market also took a hit, but it trailed behind the nationwide bust.
"There was a late influx in the local market, and I think that's why sheriff's sales are still high. But foreclosures are coming down," said John LeCates, a Realtor and past president of the Realtors Association of York & Adams Counties.
That's good news for the local housing market, he said.
"If a lot of foreclosures flood the market, that holds down prices. With less foreclosures in the county, prices can start moving up again," LeCates said.
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