News Column

Central Calif. Foreclosures Fall 31% from a Year Ago

Nov. 19, 2012

Eric Grunder

Foreclosure activity in San Joaquin County decreased again in September and was down by nearly a third from the level a year earlier.

The research firm RealtyTrac said Wednesday that foreclosure activity in the county fell 3 percent in October compared to a month earlier and was down 31 percent from October 2011.

Although slightly lower, those numbers parallel foreclosure activity statewide and continues a pattern that has seen a slow but steady healing of the hard-hit real estate market. The RealtyTrac numbers also parallel third-quarter numbers released last month by San Diego-based DataQuick, which reported a 32 percent drop in foreclosure activity compared to the same quarter in 2011.

Florida posted the nation's highest foreclosure rate for the second month in a row, according to RealtyTrac, with one in every 312 housing units with a foreclosure filing in October, followed by Nevada, Illinois, California (one of every 379) and Arizona.

In San Joaquin County, the rate was one in every 213 housing units.

"We continued to see vastly different foreclosure trends across the country in October, depending primarily on how each state's foreclosing infrastructure was able to handle the high volume of delinquent loans during the worst of the foreclosure crisis in 2010," said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac.

Blomquist could make the same statement about California. In Stanislaus County, for example, foreclosure activity jumped 68 percent last month compared to September and was down only 14 percent from October 2011. Or Butte County, where foreclosures spiked 126 percent last month but were down 26 percent from a year earlier.

Foreclosure activity increased on a month-over-month basis in more than half of the 212 metro areas tracked in the RealtyTrac report and jumped significantly in some hard-hit metro areas. In addition to Modesto's 68 percent increase, foreclosures jumped 53 percent in Sarasota, Fla., 45 percent in Las Vegas, 61 percent in Columbus, Ohio, and 58 percent in Columbia, S.C.

"Unfortunately, the three states dealing with the biggest rebound in deferred foreclosure activity -- New Jersey, New York and Connecticut -- also had to deal with the devastation to homes inflicted by superstorm Sandy," Blomquist added.

"The foreclosure moratoriums being put into effect as a result of the storm will likely extend the already-lengthy time to foreclose in these states, further prolonging a fundamentally sound housing recovery," he said.

Foreclosure starts -- default notices or scheduled foreclosure auctions, depending on the state -- were filed for the first time on 89,209 U.S. properties in October, a 2 percent increase from September but down 19 percent from October 2011 -- the third straight month with an annual decrease in foreclosure starts.

More than 13,000 of those starts were in California, but that's a 55 percent decrease from October 2011. And some 7,800 foreclosures were completed last month in California, but that was a 20 percent drop from a year earlier.

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: (c) 2012 The Record (Stockton, Calif.)


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