California foreclosure "surge": Up 327% from '07 levels
The number of California homes lost to foreclosure in the first quarter surged 327% from year-ago levels -- reaching an average of more than 500 foreclosures per day -- DataQuick said in a report, warning that the widening foreclosure problem could "spread beyond the current categories of dicey mortgages, and into mainstream home loans."
From DataQuick's report on California foreclosures in the first three months of 2008: "Trustees Deeds recorded, or the actual loss of a home to foreclosure, totaled 47,171 during the first quarter. ... Last quarter's total rose 48.9 percent from 31,676 in the previous quarter, and jumped 327.6 percent from 11,032 in first quarter 2007." That translates into 517 foreclosures every day in the first quarter of 2008.
DataQuick president Marshall Prentice: "The main factor behind this foreclosure surge remains the decline in home values. Additionally, a lot of the 'loans-gone-wild' activity happened in late 2005 and 2006 and that's working its way through the system. The big 'if' right now is whether or not the economy is in recession. If it is, the foreclosure problem could spread beyond the current categories of dicey mortgages, and into mainstream home loans."
From The L.A. Times' Peter Hong: "Sinking home values and the collapse of flimsy mortgages sent a record number of California homes into the foreclosure process in the first three months of this year, a real estate information service reported today."
Default notices -- which mark the beginning of the foreclosure process -- increased sharply, but not as rapidly as outright foreclosures. From Bloomberg News: "California mortgage defaults more than doubled in the first quarter to the highest in 15 years as a drop in sales and prices prevented some homeowners from selling their properties to pay debt, DataQuick Information Systems said.
More: "Homeowners received 113,676 default notices in the first quarter, up 143 percent from a year ago, La Jolla, California- based DataQuick said today in a statement. The level was the highest since at least 1992, when DataQuick's statistics begin."
Despite well publicized federal efforts to reach out to homeowners in default, the odds that they will ultimately lose their homes appear to be increasing. DataQuick reports that, of the homeowners in default, "an estimated 32 percent emerge from the foreclosure process by bringing their payments current, refinancing, or selling the home and paying off what they owe. A year ago it was about 52 percent.: