Monday, 17 June 2024

Report: 2008 foreclosures spike across country and county

LAKE COUNTY – The number of people around the nation and here in Lake County who faced losing their homes in 2008 grew substantially over previous years, according to a new report.

RealtyTrac, a company which tracks foreclosure rates around the United States, released its 2008 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report last week.

The news for 2008 wasn't good: RealtyTrac's report states that foreclosure activity increased 81 percent nationwide over 2007 and 225 percent from 2006.

In all, there were more than 3.1 million foreclosure filings – default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions – on more than 2.3 million US properties. Some properties had more than one foreclosure filing, according to the report.

RealtyTrac also reported that 1.84 percent of all U.S. housing units – amounting to one in 54 – received at least one foreclosure filing during the year, up from 1.03 percent in 2007.

In Lake County, the percentage increases are even more stark.

In 2006, Lake County had 265 foreclosure filings, and 553 foreclosures in 2007, a 108-percent increase, according to RealtyTrac records.

For 2008, foreclosure filings in Lake County ballooned to 1,176, a 112-percent increase over 2007 and 343 percent over 2006's reported numbers. That number ranked it No. 19 among California's 58 counties for the most foreclosure activity.

Looking at the states, Nevada, Florida and Arizona were the top three when it came to the largest foreclosure activity increases in 2008, RealtyTrac reported.

California came in at No. 4, with a 110 percent increase over 2007. RealtyTrac noted that the state's foreclosure activity has gone up by 498 percent since 2006.

In addition, California had a total of 523,624 properties that received a foreclosure filing in 2008, which RealtyTrac said was the nation's highest state total.

California also had the most cities in the top 10 US metro areas for foreclosures, including Stockton at No. 1; Riverside/San Bernardino, No. 3; Bakersfield, No. 4; and Sacramento, No. 9.

RealtyTrac reported that foreclosure filings were reported on 303,410 US properties in December, up 17 percent from the previous month and up nearly 41 percent from December 2007.

However, the company noted that, despite the spike in December, foreclosure activity for the fourth quarter was down nearly 4 percent from the previous quarter but still up nearly 40 percent from the fourth quarter of 2007.

"State legislation that slowed down the onset of new foreclosure activity clearly had an effect on fourth quarter numbers overall, but that effect appears to have worn off by December," said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac.

Saccacio said the big jump in December foreclosure activity “was somewhat surprising” given the moratoria enacted by both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, along with programs from some of the major lenders and loan servicers aimed at delaying foreclosure actions against distressed homeowners.

California passed SB 1137, which required lenders to provide written notice of their intent to initiate foreclosure proceedings 30 days prior to issuing a notice of default (NOD), resulted in a reduction of NODs from 44,278 in August to 21,665 in September.

Notice of Default filings then surged by 122 percent, to over 42,000, in December, according to RealtyTrac, which noted that similar patterns have occurred in other states, such as Massachusetts and Maryland, where similar types of foreclosure prevention legislation has been enacted.

"Clearly the foreclosure prevention programs implemented to-date have not had any real success in slowing down this foreclosure tsunami,” said Saccacio.

Last month, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced $7.8 Million in federal grant funding to Help California homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgages. He said those homeowners will be eligible for free counseling on how to avoid foreclosure.

The California Housing Finance Agency and HUD-approved counseling groups in partnership with the Rural Community Assistance Corporation were awarded the $7.8 million grant in addition to the previous $8 million grant awarded to California earlier in 2008, according to Schwarzenegger's office.

The grants are part of new federal program enacted in late 2007 to help homeowners avoid foreclosures, the governor's officer reported.

Counseling is available to homeowners who have defaulted on their mortgages or are in danger of defaulting on their mortgages. Homeowners in those situations can arrange counseling by contacting one of the counseling agencies in their area or by visiting

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


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