August 7, 2012 (Shirley Allen)

Foreclosure activity in California continued to slowly improve in the second quarter of 2012 as both default notices and distressed property sales declined during the quarter according to real estate information provider DataQuick.

A total of 54,615 Notices of Default (NoDs) were recorded in the second quarter of 2012, down 2.9 percent from the 56,258 NoDs recorded in the first quarter of this year and down 3.6 percent from the 56,633 NoDs recorded in the same quarter of last year.

The number of NoDs in the second quarter was the lowest amount since the second quarter of 2007 when 53,943 NoDs were recorded. The most NoDs ever recorded were 135,431 in the second quarter of 2009. The largest amount of default notices continues to have originated during the 2005 – 2007 time period.

Areas with a median sales price of under $200,000 continued to carry the brunt of foreclosure activity in the second quarter with just under nine default notices per 1,000 homes, about the same as in the first quarter.

Homes in zip codes where the median price is between $200,000 and $800,000 received NoDs at a rate of 5.6 per 1,000 while homes in zip codes that were $800,000 or greater only received 2.2 default notices per 1,000 homes, down from 2.3 in the first quarter.

Counties where mortgages were least likely to default were San Francisco, Marin, and San Mateo. The counties that experienced the highest level of defaults were Tulare, San Joaquin and Sacramento.

Distressed properties sales made up 45.9 percent of all re-sales in California during the second quarter of 2012, down from a revised 53.7 percent in the first quarter.

Foreclosure re-sales accounted for 27.9 percent of the quarter’s resale activity, down from a revised 33.6 percent in the previous quarter, while short sales made up about 18.0 percent of all re-sales for the quarter, down from 20.1 percent in the fourth quarter.

About 835,000 of the 8.7 million homes and condos in California, 9.6 percent, have been lost to foreclosure in the last five years.

Foreclosure timelines continued to shrink in California as lenders typically filed a Notice of Default when a homeowner was eight months behind on their primary mortgage in the second quarter compared to nine months in the first quarter while the average amount of time that it took to foreclose on a home after a NoD was received was 7.7 months, down from 8.5 months in the first quarter, and down from 10.0 months in the same quarter of 2011.

Tags: California, defaults, notice of default, NoD, bank policy changes, legal challenges, politics, median sales price, distressed properties, foreclosures, short sales