In California it appears the worst part of the housing crises may have passed. The state is seeing fewer delinquencies and losing a smaller number of homes to foreclosure.A total of 56,258 Notices of Default (NODs) were recorded at county recorders offices in California during the first quarter of 2012, the lowest level since the second quarter of 2007 when 53,943 NODs were recorded, according to DataQuick.
NOD filings peaked in the first quarter of 2009 at 135,431. The number of NODs also decreased by 8.5 percent from the previous quarter, and by 17.6 percent from the first quarter a year ago, according to DataQuick. Foreclosure activity goes up when property values decline, and the worst of that decline was happening three years ago. Right now, property values in many areas appear flat,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president. NOD filings were more concentrated in zip codes with median sale prices below $200,000. Those areas saw 8.9 NODs filed for every 1,000 homes, while zip codes with a median sales price from $200,000 to $800,000 had 5.6 NODs filed per 1,000 homes. For zip codes with even higher sale prices – above $800,000 – 2.3 NODs were filed for every 1,000 homes.
Fewer homes were lost to foreclosure, too, with the Trustees Deeds (TD) recorded totaling 30,261 during the first quarter, down 29.7 percent from the 43,052 TDs in the first quarter a year ago. This year’s first quarter also recorded the lowest level of TDs since 2007. “[R]emarkably, whole batches of presumed ‘toxic’ mortgages continue to perform,” said Walsh. “There’s no doubt that housing, especially negative equity, is one of the biggest drags on a struggling economy, but it’s not necessarily playing out the way some pundits thought.”
TDs were also concentrated in more affordable neighborhoods. In areas where the sales price was below $200,000, 5.9 homes were lost for every 1,000 compared to zip codes with $800,000-plus median prices that had 0.8 foreclosures per 1,000 homes. Other report highlights
- When the lender filed a Notice of Default, homeowners in California were a median nine months behind on their primary mortgage.
- The borrowers owed a median $17,897 on a median $319,418 mortgage.
- Mortgages least likely to go into default were in Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties.
- Probability of going into default was highest in Tulare, Sacramento, and San Joaquin counties.
- Out of 8.7 million homes and condos in California, 1.45 million have received a foreclosure proceeding over the past five years, but 835,000, or 9.6 percent, have actually been lost to foreclosure.
- Foreclosure re-sales accounted for 33.5 percent of California resale activity
- Foreclosure resales varied greatly by county, from 9 percent in San Francisco County to 55.2 percent in Yuba County.
- Short sales made up an estimated 20.2 percent of the state’s resale activity.
- It took about 8.5 months for foreclosed homes to make their way through the foreclosure process in the first quarter of 2012, compared to 9.7 months for the previous quarter.
- At formal foreclosure auctions last quarter, an estimated 33.4 percent buyers were investors, up from 23.2 percent a year ago.