South Orange County Blog from Bob Phillips

Orange County foreclosures take a dive

“Click on slide show to see charts detailing the drop in O.C. foreclosures.

The number of Orange County homes lost to foreclosure plunged this spring to levels not seen since before banks launched a record-setting rise in property seizures, data from two housing research firms show.

Both firms, DataQuick Information Services and ForeclosureRadar, reported that the number of foreclosure auctions held on courthouse and city hall steps had fallen to below 350 a month – the lowest monthly total in five years.

That’s less than a quarter of the monthly tally when foreclosures hit all-time highs of more than 1,400 a month in the summer of 2008.

Analysts noted that while a healing housing market deserves some of the credit, they warned that banks and government have put the brakes on a still high supply of homes with unpaid mortgages.

“The question is whether these lower … numbers mean that there’s less distress to process, or if we’re just seeing distress get processed at a slower pace,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president.

Specifically, the data show:

  • Orange County had 338 homes either sold at foreclosure auctions in June or taken back by the lenders for lack of a bid, according to ForeclosureRadar. That’s the lowest monthly tally since the firm recorded 313 foreclosures in June 2007.
  • DataQuick’s tally showed O.C. having 343 foreclosures in June. That’s the second lowest since June 2007, the lowest being the 332 foreclosure sales recorded in May.
  • The data from both firms show that foreclosures in O.C. have fallen at least 76 percent since hitting a record of just over 1,440 foreclosures in the summer of 2008.
  • The June foreclosure tally is about half the monthly average for the past five years. According to ForeclosureRadar, O.C. averaged 701 foreclosures a month since June 2007, while DataQuick shows the county average at 671.
  • Both firms showed that Orange County homeowners lost around 42,000 homes – or more — to foreclosure since the crisis began.
  • The tally of notices of default – a formal filing that starts the foreclosure process – likewise has fallen, both firms show. According to DataQuick, lenders filed 1,249 notice of default in June and that defaults had gotten as low as 1,019 last December. By comparison, the county averaged nearly 1,800 notices of default a month for the past five years.

The trend is happening statewide. DataQuick reported Monday that California foreclosures had fallen in the spring to the lowest number for any quarter since the spring of 2007.

“Obviously the economy has been on the mend – however slowly,” said Walsh, the DataQuick president.

Also contributing to the drop: Banks have sped up the process of either modifying loans or allowing owners to sell their homes for less than is owed on the mortgage (or a “short sale”)  ( End of excerpt.)

( From the Orange County Register, an article by Jeff Collins, July 24th, 2012 )

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