In the first quarter, California recorded 81,054 notices of defaults – generally the first step in the foreclosure process – down 40 percent from the 135,431 NODs reported a year ago, according to San Diego-based MDA DataQuick.
Although it remains uncertain if the year-over-year plunge is market driven or a result of foreclosure mitigation efforts at the state and federal level. A borrower is sent a notice of default by the lender after missing a certain number of payments.
The first-quarter figure represents a 4.2 percent decrease from the 84,568 NODs for the prior quarter. The quarterly average is 44,041 notices, according to data going back to 1992, when DataQuick initiated statistics.
“We are seeing signs that the worst may be over in the hard-hit entry-level markets, while problems are slowly spreading to more expensive neighborhoods. We’re also seeing some lenders become more accommodating to work-outs or short sales, while others appear to be getting stricter about delinquencies. It’s very noisy out there,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president
However, another report painted a dimmer picture when factoring in all types of foreclosure-related filings.
According to RealtyTrac figures released last week, California alone accounted for 23 percent of the nation’s total foreclosure activity in the first quarter – including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions – with 216,263 properties affected. That’s the highest foreclosure activity of all states, RealtyTrac said.
Here are other findings on California’s market from DataQuick:
- On primary mortgages, California homeowners were a median five months behind on their payments when the NODs were filed by lenders. Borrowers owed a median $14,066 in back payments on a median $330,147 mortgage.
- On home equity loans in default, borrowers owed a median $3,897 on a median $64,422 credit line. The amount of the credit line that in use cannot be determined from public records.
- The median origination month for last quarter’s defaulted loans was July 2006, the same month as during the prior four quarters.