The number of foreclosures and sheriff's sales in York County continues to climb, but local officials said it's not a sign of another economic downturn.
In fact, it's more likely to be continued fallout from the last downturn, they said.
That foreclosures have increased 78 percent this year, compared to 2011 numbers, is likely because mortgage lenders are getting caught up on their backlogs, according to county Prothonotary Pam Lee.
"What we've heard from real estate and financial experts is banks are getting caught up on foreclosures that had been sitting for two years," she said.
A hefty supply of foreclosures accumulated during the recession, and banks were waiting to sell those before listing new ones, she said.
"We heard from people who said they hadn't paid their mortgage in two years, but hadn't been foreclosed on. So I think it's catching up now," Lee said.
As mortgage lenders close that gap, York County's foreclosure rate has ballooned to four times what it was a year ago, she said.
"We're continuing to see a dramatic increase," Lee said.
In August, 193 foreclosures were filed in her office, compared to 93 filings during the same month in 2011.
Through Thursday, there were 62 foreclosures in September. If it stays on pace throughout the second half of the month, it will best the 106 foreclosures listed in September 2011.
Additionally, there had been 1,420 foreclosures in 2012 through Thursday, which dwarfs the 867 foreclosures during the first nine months of 2011.
The county's foreclosures have been rising steadily since June, after steadily dropping since the same month a year ago, Lee said.
The auction block: Sheriff's sales have also increased, according to a county representative.
There are 249 properties listed for sheriff's sale on Oct. 15, the representative said. That's 73 more than the 176 properties listed last October.
During the last year, the number of new listings has fluctuated up and down - but never by more than 44 foreclosures, according to the statistics.
The 73 new listings for October is the biggest increase when this year's numbers are compared to those from 2011.
The new listings aren't having a major impact on the local housing market, according to John LeCates, president of the Realtors' Association of York & Adams Counties.
"It's not deterring sales or the amount of sales," he said.
The association on Monday reported home sales in York County have risen 8 percent this year.
Foreclosures and sheriff's sales may be helping the market a little by keeping prices level among homeowners who aren't in default, LeCates said.
"Our housing boom had a bigger increase than other areas, so that's why we have more foreclosures. Once the inventory is cleaned out a little better, home prices will start to climb a little," he said.
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