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California Foreclosures 'Flat'

June 4, 2002

Bay Area Homeowners Lead The State

Inman News Features

Foreclosure activity edged up in the Bay Area and remained flat in the rest of the state during the first four months of this year, according to DataQuick Information Systems.

Lending institutions started foreclosure proceedings on 29,730 homeowners during the January-to-April period, reporting an increase of 4.9 percent compared with 28,350 for the same period last year, according to DataQuick.

Last year's count was the lowest for that time period since 1992, according to DataQuick.

"Current foreclosure activity is probably about as low as it can go. When homes go up in value, foreclosure rates go down because financially distressed homeowners can sell, pay off what they owe on the home, and walk away with some money. The Bay Area had flat appreciation for about a year until this spring, but home values are going up there again, like they are in the rest of the state," said Mike Ela, DataQuick's president.

The median price paid for a California home last month was $259,000, up 17.2 percent from $221,000 April.

Bay Area defaults totaled 4,660 so far this year, up 37.6 percent from 3,386 for the same four months last year. Bay Area foreclosure rates are still relatively low, roughly half the rate in the rest of the state because homes in low-cost markets go into default more often than homes in expensive markets.

Three-fourths of the homeowners in default were able to stop the foreclosure process by bringing their mortgage payments current, or by selling their home and paying the mortgage off. In the mid 1990s, only half the distressed homeowners were able to do that, according to DataQuick.

DataQuick, a subsidiary of Vancouver-based MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates, monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts.

Copyright: Inman News Service

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