Statistics shared Thursday show York County sheriff's sales are at their highest level in two years.

But that isn't cause for alarm, according to the county prothonotary, because it takes a while for foreclosures to make their way through the system.

"It's a slow-moving process," said Prothonotary Pam Lee.

Her office is seeing a drop in foreclosures, but that won't be reflected in local sheriff's sales for maybe another year.

For example, she said a fast case would be one in which a party filed for foreclosure in January 2012, and the property was listed and sold during a sheriff's sale eight months later in August.

Foreclosure numbers have steadily declined since hovering around 200 a month last summer. In October, they fell to 74, and they have remained below 100 per month since.

As of Thursday, there were 47 foreclosures filed in January.

"The number of foreclosures is definitely falling, but it will be a while before the sheriff's office sees some relief," Lee said.

Last year, 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.

The number of foreclosures has receded, but the number of sheriff's sales has remained high while last year's backlog makes it on the market.

There are 266 properties listed for sheriff's sale on Feb. 11, according to a county representative.

It's the largest number of listings recorded in the county during the last two years.

And the number of properties that will be listed in April might be as high as, or higher, than those listed in February, a representative said.

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