Foreclosures Up. Big Surprise.

Across the country, foreclosures are up a whopping 71% in the third quarter  over the same period last year.  Almost 766,000 homeowners  nationwide had a sheriff show up at the door and with a foreclosure complaint in hand.

Six states made up for nearly 60% of the list: Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and Nevada.   Actually, in California Notices of Default, the first stage in the foreclosure process, are down significantly–from 121,673 in the second quarter of this year to 92,240 in the third quarter. Despite appearances,  that’s not really not much to cheer about.  A new state law came online October 1. That law ia requires lenders in California  to contact defaulting homeowners first, then to wait 30 days before beginning the foreclosure process.  So, that drop is a delay, not any really good news.

Maybe Californians behind on their mortgages will slide through Christmas, but the first quarter of 2009 looks bleak indeed for the many homeowners now behind on their mortgages.

The good news Southern California home sales are up. Prices are now at 2003 levels.
“Sinking home values continued to drive home sales in September as bargain hunters snared properties at 2003 prices.The median Southern California home sales price was $308,500 in September, the lowest since May 2003 and down 33% from the September 2007 peak of $462,000, according to real estate research firm MDA DataQuick.

The number of homes sold in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura and San Diego counties shot up 65% compared with September 2007. Fifty percent of homes sold last month had been foreclosed.

Of course, even the good news comes with a caveat. These homes were purchased mid to late summer before the horrific slide on Wall Street, before the Bailout and before the news that even corporate giants like Ford and General Electric were facing economic extinction. As usual, with bargains galore, many are too scared to buy.

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