According to newly released data from RealtyTrac, foreclosures in Southern California are at the highest level they’ve been in two years.
Foreclosures Hit Highest Level in Two Years
The new data released by RealtyTrac shows that in January foreclosures in Southern California hit the highest level they’ve been in two years. But there’s no reason to panic. According to market-watchers, this peak has more to do with lenders clearing out their books than with people getting bad loans.
The number of repossessed homes hit its peak in January – nearly tripling from December. This is the highest it has been since December 2012. Similar patterns were seen in nearby regions, including: Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. But it also compares to the national trend which saw foreclosure activity grow 5% between December and January.
So why the jump? It seems that banks are just now adjusting to California’s year-old Homeowners Bill of Rights. This new law offers protections for consumers as well as prolongs the foreclosure process. Because of that there are a lot of repossessions being pushed through right now. Meanwhile the number of notices of default (the first step in the foreclosure process) remain at roughly the same level as they have been for the last six months.
“This is really a final push to clear the decks of a still disproportionate amount of distressed homes and finally bring the market back to more stability,” said Mark Hughes, CEO at First Team Real Estate in Irvine.
Still in Better Shape
Though there has been an increase, this pace of repossessions remains far behind the levels that were seen during the height of the foreclosure crisis. For example, this January, there were 1,231 homes repossessed by banks in Los Angeles County. In February 2009, there were 4,154.
Source: Los Angeles Times, Foreclosures surge in Southern California, but for how long?, February 12, 2015