Georgia bucked a nationwide decline in foreclosures last month to become the No. 1 state for property default notices, scheduled auctions or bank repossessions during May, according to a report released today.
Among major U.S. cities, Atlanta trailed only Riverside, Calif., for the most foreclosure notices last month.
RealtyTrac, an online foreclosure service, said one of every 300 households in Georgia had a foreclosure filing in May, up 30 percent from a year ago. In Atlanta, foreclosure filings rose more than 28 percent from a year ago to include one of every 224 households last month, according to figures compiled by RealtyTrac.
The Georgia foreclosure rate was more than twice the nationwide average of one foreclosure filing for every 639 households.
Georgia's foreclosure rate in May leapfrogged the rates in Arizona, Florida, California and Nevada, which all posted higher foreclosure rates than Georgia in the previous month.
Nationwide, foreclosure filings in May were down nearly 4.2 percent from a year ago, RealtyTrac said.
Tennessee had an 8.2 percent increase in foreclosure filings last month compared with a year ago. But the rate of such filings - one of every 1,094 households in the Volunteer State - was still well below the U.S. average.
"U.S. foreclosure activity has now decreased on a year-over-year basis for 20 straight months, including May, but the jump in May foreclosure starts shows that it's going to be a bumpy ride down the bottom of this foreclosure cycle," Brandon Moore, CEO of RealtyTrac, said in a statement Wednesday.
Moore predicts there will be more "short sales" or auction sales rather than bank repossessions of properties.
"While preforeclosure sales have less of a negative impact on home values than bank-owned sales, they still represent a discounted sale where a distressed homeowner is losing his or her home," Moore said.
In the biggest counties in Northwest Georgia during May, RealtyTrac counted 929 foreclosure notices in Whitfield County, 482 notices in Walker County and 306 notices in Catoosa County.