News Column

Foreclosures Plunge in California

Dec. 13, 2012

Eric Grunder

Foreclosure activity plummeted 54 percent last month in San Joaquin County compared to a year earlier, an industry tracking group is reporting today. Statewide, foreclosure activity dropped 50 percent year over year.

Irvine-based RealtyTrac data indicate that foreclosure activity has shifted away from California and to Florida, where seven of the top 10 foreclosure markets are located.

The other three were in California, including Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario at No. 3, with one in 248 housing units filed for foreclosure; Stockton at No. 6, with one filing for every 265 housing units; and Modesto at No. 7, with one filing for every 270 housing units.

The three California metro areas in the top 10 all posted annual decreases in foreclosure activity, while the seven Florida metro areas in the top 10 all posted annual increases.

"The drop in overall foreclosure activity in November was caused largely by a 71-month low in foreclosure starts for the month, more evidence that we are past the worst of the foreclosure problem brought about by the housing bubble bursting six years ago," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.

"But foreclosures are continuing to hobble the U.S. housing market as lenders finally seize properties that started the process a year or two ago -- and much longer in some cases. We're likely not completely out of the woods when it comes to foreclosure starts, either, as lenders are still adjusting to new foreclosure ground rules set forth in the National Mortgage Settlement along with various state laws and court rulings."

Nationwide, foreclosure filings -- default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions -- were reported on 180,817 U.S. properties in November, a decrease of 3 percent from October and down 19 percent from November 2011. That was the 26th consecutive month with an annual decrease in foreclosure activity.

RealtyTrac said one in every 728 U.S. housing units had a foreclosure filing in November. In California, one housing unit in every 430 had a foreclosure filing last month.

Source: (c)2012 The Record (Stockton, Calif.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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