News Column

Time To Foreclose California Home: 312 Days

May 25, 2011

Marilyn Kalfus


Foreclosure filings were down in California to levels not seen in nearly 3 years,'s April report shows.

"The drop in filings, and the rise in cancellations, is surprising," says Sean O'Toole, CEO and founder of "Banks have had time to resolve robo-signing issues, so we should be seeing exactly the opposite results, with lenders starting to catch up from recent delays."

Foreclosure filings were also down in Arizona, California, Nevada and Washington.

Highlights from the report:

--Foreclosure filings in California fell to lows not seen since the fall of 2008.

--Notices of default declined 25.8 percent, and notices of trustee sale -- in which an auction is scheduled -- were down 10.9 percent from March.

--Foreclosure filings were down year over year, too, with notices of default down 28 percent and notices of trustee sale falling 31.2 percent from last April.

--Cancellations of auctions went up 27 percent, and there were 17.2 percent fewer properties going back to banks and a 15.8 percent fewer purchased by investors.

--The average time to foreclose continued to climb, increasing 3.3 percent to 312 days.

43 percent of O.C. listings distressed

The latest Orange County housing report by broker Steve Thomas, who does a bi-weekly analysis of the market, shows that as of May 12:

--3,798 distressed Orange County properties were listed for sale -- 43 percent of the 4,355 listed overall.

--17 percent of the distressed listings were foreclosures being sold by banks; 83 percent of the distressed listings were short sales.

--3 percent of distressed listings ask for more than $1 million for the home vs. 17 percent of all current Orange County listings run for $1 million-plus.

--49 percent of the distressed listings were attached homes; 51 percent of the distressed listings were detached residences.

Thomas says:

"The active distressed inventory dropped by 36 homes in the past couple of weeks. The distressed inventory now totals 3,798. The expected market time for foreclosures is remains incredibly hot at 1.46 months. There are currently only 664 foreclosures within the active listing inventory, a drop of seven homes. There are currently 3,134 short sales on the active market, decreasing by 29 homes in the past month. The expected market time is 2.82 months for short sales, also a seller's market."

New mortgage forms are tested

The new consumer financial products agency is testing out more simple mortgage disclosure forms, to make borrowers aware that loan payments could soar and encourage them to shop around for a mortgage.

From Reuters:

"Two prototype mortgage documents released (last week) are some of the first products to come out of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was created by last year's Dodd-Frank financial reform law and is scheduled to formally open its doors on July 21.

"The banking industry is eyeing the agency warily, concerned it will push them toward offering simple lending products that may fit fewer customers' needs and restrict their ability to offer more profitable products.

"Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard University law professor preparing the agency for its launch, said the agency's goal is to make financial products easier to understand so that consumers know the full cost of a loan and so they can compare what competitors are offering."

Source: Copyright (c) 2011, The Orange County Register, Santa Ana, Calif.

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