California Property Forclosure Searches
There appears to be no quick recovery for the California housing market, based on first quarter results showing 47,171 foreclosures, or a 327.6% increase, a figure 4 times higher than the same period a year earlier. Foreclosure notices totaled 110,000, with defaults up 143%, with just 32% of borrowers in default avoiding foreclosure, down from 52% a year earlier.
Bargain-priced foreclosures, making up 33.1% of the resale market, are adding more negative pressure to a market ravaged by the subprime meltdown. Bank repossessions have been strongest in outlining areas that attracted new home owners and investors during the boom cycle. In selected northern California counties foreclosures accounted for 5.1% in San Francisco County, 66.7% in San Joaquin, and 305% in Colusa County. For southern California, in an extreme example, Imperial County's foreclosure rate increased 653%, while Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Orange, & Ventura together averaged a 316% increase over last year.
As the market continues to affect first time home buyers, California might see a swing in the coming months for investors buying properties at discounted prices. The fluctuating costs of home sales vs inventory is an ever changing scenario in the California real estate market.
The time period of August 2005 to October 2006 represents the origination of most of the loans defaulting in the last quarter. According to the Mortgage Banker's Association, many of these suspect loans were made to borrowers who couldn't afford them, and many of these borrowers planned to refinance but couldn't due to excessive depreciation in the value of their homes. In cases where borrowers could afford them, the reasons for default were many, with a smaller percentage walking away because the loans were not worth paying due to the same slump in housing prices.
According to the National Association of Realtors, a nationwide drop of 19% in transactional volume & bank owned property flooded the market, resulting in a 7.7% down turn in home prices bringing the median price to $207,000 dollars. In more localized areas such Los Angeles and Orange counties, the median price was down 19.4% in February as compared with a year earlier. In March for all of Southern California, which includes the Inland Empire, Ventura & San Diego counties, the median price is down 20% to $385,000. According to some leading economists, the large amounts of foreclosure activity could cause home prices to retreat beyond fundamental levels that are more in line with incomes, perhaps exceeding the 30% declines not seen since the great depression of the 1930's. Currently nationwide home prices have retreated 18% from the peak of 2006.
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