Foreclosure activity balloons in Riverside, San Bernardino counties for first half of 2007
08:59 AM PDT on Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Foreclosure activity more than doubled in Riverside County and more than tripled in San Bernardino County in the first half of 2007 compared to the first half of 2006, according to a report released this week by an Internet marketer of distressed property.
There were 22,166 filings of defaults, trustee auctions and bank repossessions in Riverside County in the first six months of 2007, up 222 percent from the same period a year ago. Foreclosure activity increased 345 percent to 19,185 filings in San Bernardino County for the same time periods.
"Riverside (County) and San Bernardino County are really the hot spots for foreclosure in Southern California," said Daren Blomquist, spokesman for RealtyTrac, which wrote the report.
Statewide the number of foreclosure-related filings were double, a trend that Blomquist blamed on the lenient lending practices of recent years coupled with skyrocketing home prices.
For the first time, RealtyTrac also looked at the number of individual homes in the foreclosure process rather than counting the total filings that may count the same house more than once.
By the new method, Realty Trac found that in Riverside County there were 12,876 homes in some stage of foreclosure in the first half of this year, up 207 percent from a year ago, a rate of increase that wasn't much different that for the total number of filings.
However, in San Bernardino County 9,412 homes were in some stage of foreclosure in the first six months of 2007, which was not quite double the number a year ago, while the number of filings more than tripled.
Jon Marcell, owner of Better Mortgage Bankers in Upland and immediate past president of the California Association of Mortgage Bankers said he expects foreclosures will keep increasing for at least 12 more months, adding to the already large inventory of unsold homes.
He said the problem has caused a tightening of credit that is making it increasingly difficult for homebuyers to qualify for mortgages of any kind.
Foreclosures are even more prevalent in Riverside County than San Bernardino County, Marcell said, because Riverside County has had more new development and builders made riskier mortgages available to clear unsold inventory.
"What has happened is loans are sold to Wall Street on the secondary market and they are paying attention to foreclosures and pulling in their horns ... and then the market is drying up," Marcell said.
James J. Saccacio, RealtyTrac's chief executive, said earlier this week the country could easily see more than 2 million foreclosures before the end of the year. More than 925,000 foreclosure-related notices were sent out in the first six months.
That would be a 65 percent increase over the previous year. Notices of default made up about 416,000 of these actions.
The national foreclosure rate until the end of June was one for every 134 American households, according to RealtyTrac data.
Nevada, Colorado and California had the highest foreclosure rates, based on the total number of households.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.