The Southern California region is facing a another wave of foreclosures with many San Diego borrowers underwater on option ARM and Alt-A loans that are scheduled to reset soon, according to San Diego real estate investment firm Blue Sky Capital.
Blue Sky Capital said it has been tracking properties in San Diego County and many of those with adjustable rates will not be able to afford larger monthly payments when their loans reset. The REIT says more than 36% of San Diego mortgages are currently underwater.
“While these option ARM and alt-A loans exist throughout the county, areas like Carmel Valley are filled with them. During our tracking of distressed properties in the county we found many homes in areas like Carmel Valley were purchased with zero, or a small amount down, so there is very little equity in theses properties,” said Chris Williams, CEO of Blue Sky Capital. “Carmel Valley, just north of the city of San Diego, has a median income of $90,000 and while higher end families have been able to withstand the initial housing meltdown, things are about to change. We will see more housing distress in Carmel Valley, and as a result, more foreclosures and short sales.”
Many homes in the area remain in negative equity, cutting down on the inventory of for-sale homes, Blue Sky Capital said. The result of this trend is higher prices since limited inventory pushes prices higher.
“You could say the positive of this negative equity is that it helps drive home prices up, as underwater homeowners delay as long as possible putting their home on the market which creates a supply constriction. But it’s only temporary and not a real sign,” said Williams. “These situations are unsustainable and certainly short lived. Strategic defaults, foreclosures and property value declines have to happen for the market to reset and clear itself of the toxicity from the greatest mortgage mess of this century.”