Thursday, April 26, 2007

California Foreclosure Activity Jumps Again

April 16, 2007

The number of default notices sent to California homeowners last quarter increased to its highest level in almost ten years, the result of flat appreciation, slow sales, and post teaser-rate mortgage resets, a real estate information service reported.

Lending institutions filed 46,760 Notices of Default (NoDs) during the January-to-March period. That was up by 23.1 percent from a revised 37,994 for the previous quarter, and up 148.0 percent from 18,856 for first-quarter 2006, according to DataQuick Information Systems.

Last quarter's default level was the highest since 47,912 NoDs were recorded statewide in second-quarter 1997. Defaults peaked in first quarter 1996 at 61,541. An average of 33,847 NoDs have been filed quarterly since 1992, when DataQuick's NOD statistics begin.

Most of the loans that went into default last quarter were originated between April 2005 and May 2006. The median age was 15 months. Loan originations peaked in August 2005. Adjustable-rate mortgage use for primary purchase home loans peaked at 77.8% in May 2005 and has come down since.
On primary mortgages, homeowners were a median five months behind on their payments when the lender started the default process. The borrowers owed a median $10,784 on a median $331,200 mortgage.

The default numbers reflect wide regional differences. The first-quarter numbers were a record in Riverside, Sacramento and Contra Costa counties. In Los Angeles County it was almost 60 percent below the first-quarter 1996 peak, reflecting the depth of the recession in the mid-1990s as well as relative strength in today's market.

On a loan-by-loan basis, mortgages were least likely to go into default in Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo counties. The likelihood was highest in Sacramento, Riverside and San Joaquin counties.

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