Chesterfield reports decrease in home foreclosures

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – With her daughter by her side, Chesterfield homeowner Lisa Lamberson is ready to spread the news.

"I think it's really good news for the county," she said.

The frenzy is over fewer foreclosures; it's a sign that the economy is revving back up. Lisa bought her house in 2008, just as things were going south.

Lisa Lamberson: "All of a sudden the housing market went down and houses in our neighborhood were coming up for sale."
Melissa Correa: "Has your home value gone down since you purchased it?"
Lisa Lamberson: It has. It has. The assessments come in every year, lower."

County Money Manager Matt Harris is smiling, but no full-blown celebration yet.

"By no means do we want to suggest that we're completely out of the woods on the real estate front. I don't think anybody here believes that," Harris said.

During this latest economic slump Chesterfield began aggressively tracking foreclosures. This is the biggest decrease the county's seen so far.

"Overall we're down just a hair over 34%," he said.

The county gets its foreclosure information from the courthouse where the original filings are recorded.  During the first four months of 2010, 376 foreclosures.  During the same time this year, it's down to 248.

"It makes me feel better that maybe the value of our house will start coming back up," Lisa said.

Chesterfield hopes that happens.

"We think the magnitude of it will not be as substantial as it was a year ago," Harris added.

It's taken a budget beating because of the drop in property values.

"For a local government this is a particularly important source, our largest source of revenue," he said.

We won't have a full grasp on how fewer foreclosures impacts your home values until the end of the year. Now, the county always plans for foreclosures. The average is about .5% of homes. Right now we're sitting at .9%.

Chesterfield police are also tracking foreclosures. They say foreclosures are not causing an uptick in property crimes.

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