Home/Mortgages/Foreclosure Activity in California Lowest in Five Years

May 3, 2012 (Shirley Allen)

Foreclosure activity in California continued to decline in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the previous quarter and was at its lowest level since the second quarter of 2007 according to real estate information provider DataQuick.

A total of 56,258 Notices of Default (NoDs) were recorded in the first quarter of 2012, down 8.5 percent from the 61,517 NoDs recorded in the fourth quarter of last year and down 17.6 percent from the 68,239 NoDs recorded in the same quarter of last year.

The number of NoDs in the first quarter was the lowest amount since the second quarter of 2007 when 53,943 NoDs were recorded. The record amount of NoDs ever recorded were 135,431 in the first quarter of 2009.

Most of the loans that are still going into default today originated during the 2005 – 2007 time period and are generally serviced or owned by institutions that did not make the original loan.

Low cost areas with a median sales price of under $200,000 continued to carry the brunt of foreclosure activity in the first quarter with 8.9 default notices per 1,000 homes, but still down from 9.7 NoDs per 1,000 homes in the fourth quarter.

Homes in zip codes with $800,000 or greater median home prices only received 2.3 default notices per 1,000 homes, which was unchanged from the fourth 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 Sacramento, San Joaquin and Tulare.

Distressed properties sales made up 53.7 percent of all re-sales in California during the first quarter of 2012, up from a revised 53.2 percent in the fourth quarter.

Foreclosure re-sales accounted for 33.5 percent of the quarter’s resale activity, down slightly from a revised 33.6 percent in the previous quarter, while short sales made up about 20.2 percent of all re-sales for the quarter, up from 19.6 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.

California homeowners were a median nine months behind on their payment when the lender filed the Notice of Default on their primary mortgage, unchanged from the previous quarter.

The average amount of time that it took to foreclose on a home after a NoD was received was 8.5 months, down from 9.7 months from the fourth quarter of 2011 and down from 9.1 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