California Defaults Lowest in Three Years

February 7, 2011 (Jeff Alan)
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DataQuick reports that during the fourth quarter of 2010, the number of homes in California going into foreclosure was at its lowest level in three years. During the three month period Notice of Defaults (NoDs)were down 16.2 percent from the previous quarter and down 17.5 percent from the fourth quarter of 2009.

The report revealed that a total 69,799 NoDs were reported in the quarter, which was the lowest since the second quarter of 2007.

However, the lowest end of the housing market continued to suffer the most. Homes in zip codes with 2010 median prices of $200,000 or less saw 11.3 default notices per 1,000 homes compared to homes in zip codes with median prices over $800,000 saw 2.8 default notices per 100 homes.

The statewide average for default notices per 1000 homes was 8.

Zip codes with a median price over $800,000 saw a 2 percent quarter to quarter increase in default notices but overall saw a 9.3 percent year over year decline.

“We don’t know how much of the decline is due to less household financial distress and how much is due to shifts in lender and mortgage servicer foreclosure policies,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president. “The level of default activity would certainly be higher if it weren’t for alternative strategies such as short sales or even lengthening grace periods.”

According to DataQuick, mortgages were least likely to go into default in San Francisco, Marin, and San Mateo counties. The probability was highest in Madera, San Joaquin, and Stanislaus counties, which is consistent with the historical norm.

Foreclosure sales continued to increase in the state also. Foreclosures accounted for 37.5 percent of all existing home sales last quarter up from 35.5% from the quarter before.

“The institutions that hold these loans in their portfolios will do whatever it takes to lessen their losses, including waiting. An additional factor is all the turbulence when it comes to the formalities of the foreclosure process,” Walsh added.

Tags: California, foreclosures, housing market, notice of default, home prices, default notices