California Foreclosures Declined from Last Quarter

The last quarter smiled on homeowners as fewer foreclosures were filed in California. This could be a sign that the housing market is beginning to heal.

Overall, California was Notices of Default at a forty-two percent decrease from 84,569 in the last quarter to 81,054 in March.

John Walsh, president of DataQuick stated, “Several factors are at play here and it’s hard to know how they play into each other right now. A year-and-a-half ago, the sub-prime loan mess was the black hole. Now, playing catch-up, is the financial distress households are experiencing because of the recession. Add to the mix shifting policy decisions, both by lending institutions and in public policy.”

Walsh went on to explain, “We are seeing signs that the worst may be over in the hard-hit entry-level markets, while problems are slowly spreading to more expensive neighborhoods. We’re also seeing some lenders become more accommodating to work-outs or short sales, while others appear to be getting stricter about delinquencies. It’s very noisy out there.”

In California, the most affordable submarkets saw close to 48% of the defaults in 2009. This group represents about one fourth of the housing stock in the state. The last quarter there were more defaults in the mid to high end housing market.

If you look at the 81,054 in March, the difference is that the number is not the actual number of individuals involved in foreclosures. Some individuals owned more than one property lowering the number to 79,457 owners.

The counties with the least mortgages in default include San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin counties; on the other hand, the counties with the highest mortgages in default include Merced, Stanislaus, and San Joaquin.

If you are interested, what lending companies had the most default loans during the last quarter the list includes:
•    Bank of America with 3,851
•    Wells Fargo with 5,204
•    Washington Mutual with 6,371
•    World Savings with 6.459
•    Countrywide with 7,282

Comparing Notices of Defaults of the last quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2010, you will see a pretty large change in most counties.
•    San Diego  – 2009 10,111 – 2010 6,170 – a decrease of 39%
•    Los Angeles – 2009 27,981 – 2010 15,797 – a decrease of 43.5%
•    Orange County – 2009 8,427 – 2010 5,270  – a decrease of 37.5%
•    San Francisco – 2009 569 – 2010 536 –  a decrease of 5.8%
•    Napa – 2009 352 – 2010 247 – a decrease of 29.8%
•    Monterey – 2009 1,302 – 2010 818 – a decrease of 37.3%