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The hedgies got fired up this week over RealtyTrac’s report of California foreclosures rising 57% last month – the post is featured at the top of their front page, and has great comments: www.zerohedge.com.

At first glance, it would support my theory that banks deliberately turned off the foreclosure machine, and have merely started it up again:

Foreclosureradar.com’s California graph shows the same Y-O-Y increase:

CA Foreclosure Filings

But the CA Homeowners’ Bill of Rights had just been implemented in January, 2013, causing a drop in notices issued while servicers made adjustments. Last month’s number of California foreclosure notices is similar to every month since January 2013.

For locals, here are the San Diego County notices:

San Diego County Filings

It’s likely that the banks/servicers have thrown every defaulter into some sort of loan modification – or if they didn’t fit, just let them lie. With a casual handling of defaulters, expect that borrowers will drift in and out of the foreclosure process as they enjoy a pay-if-you-feel-like-it policy.

Expect the foreclosure-notice data to be jumbled from now on, and not indictative of much really. What counts is the number of people actually getting foreclosed – here are the San Diego results of trustee sales for the last three years:

San Diego County Trustee-Sale Results

The number of properties actually foreclosed has dropped off the table in the last 12 months – in 4Q13 we averaged 150 foreclosed homes per month in a county of 3 million people. We will survive that – heck, in the previous fourth quarter (4Q12) we had triple the number of foreclosed properties, and the market took off in a frenzy!

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