Friday, 21 June 2024

Report: Local foreclosures hit record levels

LAKE COUNTY – In the last quarter of 2007 mortgage default notices filed against homeowners across California and in Lake County hit the highest levels in more than 15 years, according to a recent report.

DataQuick Information Systems, a La Jolla-based real estate information service, said lending institutions sent homeowners 81,550 default notices during the October-to-December period.

The company reported that was up by 12.4 percent from 72,571 the previous quarter, and up 114.6 percent from 37,994 for fourth-quarter 2006, according to DataQuick Information Systems.

Last quarter's number of defaults was the highest in DataQuick's statistics, which go back to 1992, and set records in 42 of the state's 58 counties.

In Lake County, “It was another record quarter,” DataQuick spokesman, Andrew LePage, told Lake County News.

Notices of default filed in Lake County in the fourth quarter of 2007 numbered 187, up 44 percent over the third quarter, in which 129 notices of default were filed, and an 83.3-percent increase over the 102 notices filed in the fourth quarter of 2006, said LePage.

In neighboring counties, there were similar climbs in notices of default in 2007's fourth quarter. Sonoma recorded a nearly 200-percent increase over 2006, Napa showed a 152.9 percent increase, Yolo 93.1 percent and Colusa 150 percent.

Trustees deeds recorded – or the actual loss of a home to foreclosure – totaled 31,676 statewide during the fourth quarter, which DataQuick said is the highest it's been since the company began tracking trustees deeds in 1988.

Last quarter's statewide total rose 30.8 percent from 24,209 in the previous quarter, and jumped 421.2 percent from 6,078 in fourth quarter 2006, DataQuick reported. In the last real estate cycle, trustees deeds peaked at 15,418 in third-quarter 1996. The all-time low was 637 in the second quarter of 2005.

Locally, trustees deeds filed last quarter in totaled 74, up 39.6 percent from the third quarter, when 53 trustee deeds were filed, and up a stunning 428.6 percent over the fourth quarter of 2006, when 14 such deeds were filed, LePage said.

Lake County's 428.6-percent jump from 2006 to 2007 is also one of the most dramatic rises statewide, according to DataQuick's numbers.

Both the notices of default and trustee deed numbers for Lake County in 2007's fourth quarter were at record levels for any quarter in the county since DataQuick has tracked the records, said LePage.

Marshall Prentice, DataQuick's president, said foreclosure activity is closely tied to a decline in home values. “With today's depreciation, an increasing number of homeowners find themselves owing more on a property than it's market value, setting the stage for default if there is mortgage payment shock, a job loss or the owner needs to move,” he said.

The median price paid for a California home peaked at $484,000 last March and declined to $402,000 by the end of 2007, although much of that decline was caused by significant shifts in the types of homes that were sold, according to DataQuick.

Most of the loans that went into default last quarter were originated between August 2005 and October 2006, DataQuick reported. The median age was 22 months, up from 15 a year earlier, indicating that the pool of at-risk home loans is getting larger.

On primary mortgages statewide, homeowners were a median five months behind on their payments when the lender started the default process, according to DataQuick. The borrowers owed a median $11,121 on a median $340,000 mortgage.

On lines of credit, homeowners were a median seven months behind on their payments. Borrowers owed a median $3,379 on a median $56,000 credit line. However, DataQuick reported the amount of the credit line that was actually in use cannot be determined from public records.

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

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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