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RealtyTrac: Charlotte area foreclosure activity up as U.S. filings drop

Bucking a trend sweeping the country, the number of homes entering foreclosure in the Charlotte metropolitan area shot up last month by a whopping 65 percent over November 2011, putting a dent in other data showing the region’s real estate market bouncing back from the 2008 crash.

According to a report released Thursday by Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac, Mecklenburg County led the way for the Charlotte region’s surging foreclosure activity, producing 1,166 of the area’s 1,804 November foreclosure filings, which RealtyTrac defines as default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions.

That stands in stark contrast to data released earlier this week by the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association, which said distressed homes accounted for 13.3 percent of the houses sold in the Carolina Multiple Listing Services area last month, down from 18.3 percent in November 2011.

The two reports consider only raw data from different sources using different metrics, and both are subject to market forces that do not reflect the relative health of the economy or housing market, including the one- to two-year lag in the foreclosure process, holiday foreclosure moratoria and bank settlements.

Also, the RealtyTrac survey of foreclosure filings does not consider the eventual outcomes of those cases. Meanwhile, the CRRA data doesn’t take into account courthouse auction sales but only closings of homes listed with the CMLS.

All that said, the November RealtyTrac numbers for Greater Charlotte — and for both Carolinas — show a startling disconnect with the country as a whole. Nationwide, foreclosure filings were reported on 180,817 homes in November, a 19.4 percent decrease over the same month last year and a decline of 3 percent from October 2012.

In contrast, foreclosure filings in North Carolina rose by 27.31 percent in November over the same month last year, and they increased by 16.7 percent in South Carolina over the same period.

But the Tar Heel State did better from October to November, with filings dropping 0.78 percent. The Palmetto State did far worse over that timeframe, with filings up 32 percent.

Also, although North Carolina’s population is more than double that of its sister state, South Carolina had 4,700 filings in November compared with North Carolina’s 3,450.

But the 65 percent year-over-year  increase in Greater Charlotte’s November foreclosure starts is more startling. The metro area’s filings rose 18.3 percent from October to November. Mecklenburg County saw a sharper rise over the October-to-Noverber period, with filings up 26.5 percent. The county’s November filings shot up 87.5 percent from the same month last year.

RealtyTrac considers the Greater Charlotte area to be the North Carolina counties of Anson, Cabarrus, Gaston, Mecklenburg and Union and South Carolina’s York County and bases its Charlotte-area findings on foreclosure activity in those counties.

Tony Brown can be reached at tony.brown@mecktimes.com, (704) 247-2912 or on Twitter at @tonymecktimes.

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