There was a double-digit descent in foreclosure activity across the nation in October, and California went along for the ride.
The latest RealtyTrac report says California foreclosure activity fell 34.8 percent from October 2011 with 36,054 total filings, and is down nearly 5 percent from the month before.
Foreclosure filings plunged in the Inland region, as well, with a 24.6 percent year-over-year drop across Riverside and San Bernardino counties in total default filings, scheduled auctions and lender take-backs.
The 7,106 filings, one in every 211 households, were 3.4 percent lower than in September and helped the Inland area claim its eleventh consecutive month of year-over-year declines.
"I think we're getting closer and closer to normalcy in terms of foreclosures,'' RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist said. "It's still probably a year away to completely normal foreclosure levels, but we're continuing to trend in that direction."
The bulk of the loans that triggered the foreclosure crisis in the first place -- from the sub-prime and no document loans to adjustable-rate mortgages -- have worked through the course or are being resolved through loan modification or refinancing, Blomquist said.
There were 3,914 total foreclosure filings in Riverside County over October, 20 percent less than one year earlier. San Bernardino County's filings, 3,193, represented a 28 percent drop from October 2011.
That's down significantly from the peak of 2009 and 2010 when there were over 20,000 properties a month with foreclosure filings across Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.
"To get back to normal, the region will need to be at levels we saw in 2006, which is along the lines of 2,000 to 3,000 foreclosure filings," Blomquist said. "It's nearly half-way there. Our best guess is it will be the end of next year for the Inland Empire to get there."
The biggest clue lies in the notice of default activity, the first wave in a foreclosure process.
"It foreshadows what's coming down the pike,'' he said, noting that the October notice of default numbers in Riverside and San Bernardino counties are at a 75-month low.
The Notice of Default filings represented 2,408 of the total 7,106 total filings; that initial wave of activity puts the Inland area back into 2006 territory, Blomquist said.
Other pockets of the country remain in varying degrees of glum, given talk of the "fiscal cliff'' and an uncertain future for homeowners in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut who are grappling with the devastating aftermath of super-storm, Sandy.
Even with the decrease in filings, California still ranks fourth in the nation for foreclosure activity.
Spikes spotted in Chico, Modesto and Visalia-Porterville in October kept California near the top, behind New Jersey, New York and Connecticut -- the states with the biggest annual increases in foreclosure activity
It speaks to the severity of the foreclosure problem of California, where one in every 379 housing units had a foreclosure filing, Blomquist said. "Even though the numbers are coming down, they're still relatively high compared to the rest of the nation."
If the 186,455 filings across America in October were split into a pie, California's slice would take up more than one-fifth of it.
Since January 2007, there have been 191,594 homes that have been repossessed by banks or other lenders in Riverside and San Bernardino counties because of mortgage default or abandonment, Blomquist said.
Distributed by MCT Information Services
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