Foreclosures inch up in Davison CountyIndicators rise after years of recovery from ’07 peak.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
Some local foreclosure indicators ticked upward in 2012, putting a snag in a housing recovery that had been ongoing since foreclosures spiked in 2007.
Foreclosure filings in Davison County totaled 32, up one from 31 in 2011.
Not all foreclosure filings proceed to a sale of the property. Sometimes, for example, homeowners in the beginning stages of a foreclosure make enough payments to keep their home. But if the foreclosure continues, the county sheriff eventually offers a foreclosed property to the highest bidder. There were 24 sheriff’s sales last year in Davison County, up from 11 in 2011.
The final act in a foreclosure is the filing of a sheriff’s deed, signifying the completion of a sale and the legal transfer of ownership. There were 16 sheriff’s deeds filed in Davison County in 2012, up from 11 in 2011.
The increases are “fairly small,” said Bryan Hisel, executive director of the Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce and Mitchell Area Development Corp., “but it still represents an individual financial tragedy. For most of us, a home is the largest asset and investment we own.” Hisel said foreclosures are typically the result of job loss, family or health issues. “It’s never a good thing, but thankfully foreclosures happen to just a small percentage of homeowners.”
According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, there are about 8,800 households in Davison County. With 32 foreclosures in Davison County in 2012, the foreclosure rate is well below 1 percent.
Foreclosures reached a modern peak in Davison County in 2007, when there were 62 “lis pendens” filed. That’s a legal document signaling to potential buyers that an action is pending which could affect a property’s title, said Deputy State’s Attorney Jim Taylor. It is one of the first steps in a foreclosure action.
If a property is sold in a sheriff’s sale, the affected owner has six months to one year to redeem the property, Taylor said. The longer redemption period typically applies to larger, more costly properties, he said.
If the property is not redeemed by the owner, a sheriff’s deed is issued to the winning bidder of the sheriff’s foreclosure sale.
Denny Robinson, manager of the Fischer Rounds & Associates Century 21 real estate office in Mitchell, said the area’s real estate market has been solid.
“We’re doing well in Mitchell,” he said, “though we could use more listings.”
Robinson theorized the slight uptick in filings and deeds was probably due to failed attempts to refinance troubled properties.
“Foreclosures did come up again in 2012, but historically our foreclosures are really low compared with the rest of the country. I expect foreclosures will fall again in 2013,” he said.
According RealtyTrac, a company that tracks foreclosure rates across the country, South Dakota’s foreclosure ratio was much better than the national average during the latest data. In December, South Dakota had a foreclosure ratio of one per 2,138 housing properties. The national foreclosure rate for that same month was one for every 810 housing properties. But South Dakota’s foreclosure ratio was worse than neighbors in Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota.
Robinson said the greatest inventory shortage is for single family homes in the low $100,000 range.
He suspects buyers may be willing to stretch financially in 2013 to take advantage of low interest rates.
Sarah Olson, mortgage originator for First National Bank South Dakota in Mitchell, said, “Foreclosures may have increased, but compared with national averages, we’re fairly stable.
“South Dakota, Mitchell and the Midwest have not been hit as hard as Arizona and the East and West coasts.” Olson said the slightly higher foreclosure numbers could also be a result of the lag times from earlier filings. “I don’t see any huge changes in the immediate future,” she said. “The rates are awesome; it’s a great time to buy.” Robinson agreed. “I think the mood of buyers is better than last year,” he said. “But right now our inventory is low. If we had houses, we’d have buyers.”