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ATL Cracks Top 5 For Ultra High-End Foreclosures

Metro Atlanta is suddenly a hotbed for ultra high-end properties that have fallen into foreclosure — so what gives? While overall U.S. foreclosure activity is down 23 percent year-to-year through October, RealtyTrac reports foreclosures on the crème de la crème of upscale properties have shot up 61 percent. And Atlanta has cracked the dubious top-five markets for high-end foreclosures, behind only Miami and the frontrunner by a mile, California. An area defined as Atlanta/Sandy Springs/Marietta has 18 properties valued at more than $5 million with foreclosure activity. That's 13 more than last year — a 260 percent spike. Allen Iverson can't have that many homes here.

Overall, the number of high-end properties with a foreclosure notice is miniscule — less than 200 across the country. But each property could bring a gargantuan loss for the foreclosing lending compared to the 1.2 million more moderately priced U.S. homes in foreclosure. So why now? RealtyTrac offers two possibilities for the sudden rise in metro Atlanta and elsewhere: "This trend may indicate lenders are now financially stable enough to more comfortably weather the big-ticket losses that these properties potentially represent," writes the real-estate tracking company. "In addition, an improving housing market means more prospective buyers, even for these ultra high-end properties … A bigger buyer pool translates into higher sales prices on these properties, allowing lenders to recoup more of their losses on these jumbo loans gone bad."

· HIGH-END FORECLOSURES UP 61 PERCENT YEAR-TO-DATE IN 2013 [RealtyTrac]