These numbers look too uniform, yet nobody questions them – instead, more psycho-babble from a variety of casual observers. From sddt.com:
Banks foreclosed on 1,125 homes last month, according to data provided by the San Diego County Assessor’s Office, virtually unchanged from April, when there were 1,121. It marks three straight months, and four of five this year, with the monthly total of trustee deeds — the final step in the foreclosure process — coming within 50 of 1,100.
Last month’s total is also in line with May 2010, when banks foreclosed 1,148 homes, or 2 percent more than this May.
Notices of default (NODs) — the first step in the foreclosure process, registering that a borrower is in arrears of payment — also showed little change. May saw 1,647 borrowers receive NODs, a mere 1.4 percent increase from the 1,624 in April, and an 8.3 percent decrease from the 1,798 in the year-ago month.
Through the first five months of the year, NODs have now declined 16 percent from the year-ago period, to a total of 9,121.
The overwhelming majority of those properties will eventually be foreclosed, or sold through a short sale. Meanwhile, 5,416 homes have been foreclosed in the county this year, 11 percent fewer than a year ago.
Conflicting forces in the general economy have pushed foreclosure activity into a sort of equilibrium, according to Alan Gin, professor of economics at the University of San Diego. “There’s been a bit of improvement in employment, some growth there, and that’s helping people make payments,” he said. “On the other hand, home prices are going down (according to the Case-Shiller/S&P Home Price Indices, released last week), bringing more people underwater on their mortgages. Those two factors are just balancing out at this point.”
Earlier this year, John Burns Real Estate Consulting estimated that there was a 14-month supply of distressed housing inventory in San Diego County. Tim Sullivan, principal at JBREC, said it would be a sign that the local housing market wasn’t eating into the size of the shadow inventory if the number of foreclosures and the number of sales each month were staying relatively flat.
“The next question is, do we rebound up, and see the foreclosures increase, or do we have the economy improve and see it get better,” Gin said.
Additionally, according to CoreLogic, the county’s foreclosure rate — the percentage of loans in the county in some stage of delinquency, measuring the total stock of loans in the foreclosure process — fell in March, the most recent month with available data.
The foreclosure rate in the county was 2.39 percent in March, a decrease of 0.28 percentage points compared to the year-ago month, and 0.07 percent over the previous month.
The national foreclosure rate, by comparison, was 3.57 percent in March.
Rick Hoffman, president and COO of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage San Diego/Inland Empire, said anecdotally that foreclosure activity has diminished only slightly, reinforcing CoreLogic’s findings. “Foreclosure activity is holding pretty steady,” he said. “Nobody still knows when banks will release pent up properties.”
CoreLogic also reported the county’s March mortgage delinquency rate — the percent of homes that are delinquent, including those in foreclosure or real estate owned (REO) — as 7.38 percent, down from 9.32 percent during the same period a year ago, and 7.68 percent in February.
ZIP codes in the South Bay, inland North County and East County areas have the highest foreclosure rates in the county, according to the CoreLogic report.