At the current moment, only worries about jobs and unemployment likely outrank concerns about foreclosures and related fears about property--loss of value, rises in taxes, etc. As far back as three years, according to the Associated Press, Georgia was eighth among States in terms of properties facing bank seizure, with roughly one out of every 140 households in such distress.
A year ago, the overall data that is most readily available and up-to-date indicated that the Peach State was seventh in the national queue. For third quarter, 2009, that meant that 33,300 homeowners faced the loss of hearth and household, up 25% from the previous year and now hovering at a rate still closer to one per cent.
The stark social meaning of these numbers boggles the mind. In five years, it could mean the displacement of a quarter of the populace. Such a staggering diminution in the human condition is taking place when hundreds of companies 'too big to fail' receive the taxes that common citizens from communities like Tucker faithfully pay.
A Closer Look
Though people may worry more about employment, the level of response on the web suggests a substantially greater concern about, or interest in, the present state of the housing market. The search, "jobs + georgia + unemployment," for instance, yields a bit more than 2.6 million citations; the query, "home + georgia + foreclosure" garners 19.2 million hits.
Of course, a vast number of those links are about investment opportunities. In other words, this hideous crisis that more and more people are facing in their lives represents a chance for investors, or less troubled home buyers, to acquire properties at "bargain basement rates." The thought-process is roughly the same as at a giant fire sale; of course, that a fire has occurred means likely tragedy for those burned out, but some may prefer to imagine that "it's an ill wind that blows no one good."
Bringing this all closer to home, the Champion, Dekalb's weekly legal reporter, listed roughly 1,400 "residential properties" that would face foreclosure over the course of the following four weeks. At such a volume, this county of three quarters of a million souls can expect plus or minus fifty thousand people--at about three per household--to face the horror of eviction and the scramble for a roof in the course of a single year.
Even closer to home, one can note that the web search "homes + foreclosure + georgia + "dekalb county" + number OR statistics OR data OR total" brings forth 82,800 listings. Again, the sense of predators after an easy kill, or sellers seeking to lure investors in any case, predominates.
The following appear on the first page that Google displays. "(T)he cheapest homes in foreclosure available today;" "(b)uy cheap... Dekalb County foreclosure homes with our Dekalb foreclosure listing;" and "the freshest listings of Dekalb County foreclosed homes ... . you can easily find the best deals on cheap foreclosure homes in Dekalb County--(j)ust point and click your way to huge savings," are but a few of the messages put forth about friends and neighbors facing homelessness or a mad dash for somewhere safe to stay.
Closer to Home
The same web-search, with 'Tucker" added after "Dekalb County," calls up 17,800 'investment opportunities,' or frigid human tragedies, depending on the perspective that one brings to the situation. One hundred and eighty four and a half pages of classified advertisements shout out Champion's auctioning of the American dream in Dekalb County. An examination of eighteen pages at random illustrates that, as the temperature dips into the mid-teens, Tuckerians can celebrate that only about thirty acquaintances, nearby homedwellers, and fellow humans can anticipate financiers turning them out in the next month or so.
A similar number face that fate in Chamblee, whereas Clarkston bears a double burden. And other parts of the county, with Lithonia apparently hardest hit, constitute the remaining plus-or-minus one thousand three hundred losses of domicile in this relatively prosperous corner of Georgia.
At least twice this year, more than 2,000 have confronted the chopping block and had no choice but to abandon properties into which they had, on average, sunk tens of thousands of dollars, in each case. No obviously available listing exists of the actual empirical impact of the foreclosure crisis on Tucker.
One of the many services that seeks to stick up for consumers in matters of this sort estimates that Georgia's homeowners have kissed over $13 billion in value 'ciao for now' as a result of home seizures that resulted from defaulted mortgages. What has brought this crisis to pass, what possible ways to deal with this horrific manifestation of business as usual, and other interrogatories will lead to later articles on this tragic topic.
No one can deny that, of the half million evictions between 2008 and 2013 that will likely result from this whole unfolding nightmare in Georgia, every single one stemmed from non-payment. On the other hand, as further investigation will clearly demonstrate, the entire system was rigged to extract exorbitant payments from unsophisticated buyers who now have no hope but to cobble together a life after disastrous collapse.
Too Close to Home
This devastation struck uncomfortably nearby earlier this evening. This correspondent's wife, on a constitutional stroll through the lovely subdivision of Windy Hill, came upon the scattered remains of a to-her unknown family's life, cast away like so much flotsam and jetsam from some mighty shipwreck. She could not help noticing a particularly lovely chair, sitting with icicles in the midst of the wreckage.
Upon returning home, she entered the address in one of the dozens of services that blare that the 'deals are better than ever.' In the ad pushing a 'short sale' and more value as a result, there sat the lovely chair, in which no one will ever have the occasion again to rest and reflect on life's twists and turns.