North County Foreclosures Decline for 12th Straight Month
North County’s real estate market is starting to get on a roll. For the twelfth straight month, the region saw its year-over-year foreclosure rate drop. The streak has industry experts hopeful that the consistent decline may signal the emergence of a strengthening market.
While the news is good, experts are still quick to caution that foreclosure rates are still above a healthy level. Still, the numbers are encouraging.
“We’re a long way off from fully recovered; things are definitely moving in the right direction,” says Jordan Levine from LA-based Beacon Economics.
Foreclosures and notices of default were up in January from the December figures, but experts attribute the increase to a typical two-week layoff of proceedings around the holidays.
Meanwhile, financial institutions seem to have perfected the foreclosure process since the robo-signing scandal of 2010. Foreclosures are being processed at their fastest rate since the third quarter of 2009. With any luck, the decline totals and quicker processing will allow North County to flush the real estate market clear of distressed properties in a shorter period of time that previously expected. A removal of a significant number of these properties will help to solidify the market.
Foreclosures and Defaults Way Down in North County
To update a previous item, foreclosures and default notices stayed steady in 2011 across San Diego County, but new numbers suggest that those figures dropped dramatically in North County, as well as South Riverside County.
According to a study released by ForeclosureRadar, notices of default were down in every ZIP code in North County. Actual foreclosure numbers were more uneven. Many coastal ZIP codes witnessed an increase in foreclosures due to high-end markets tumbling in value faster than the rest of the market. However, most of the rest of the county saw sizable decrease in foreclosures, partially due to lenders allowing sellers to sell properties for less than the amount owed on the loan.
“More servicers and banks are willing to consider a short sale,” said Mark Goldman, an instructor at San Diego State University. “They’re coming to realize they’ll have more income on a short sale than they will on the expense of a foreclosure.”
Last year, lenders send 22.6 notices of default per 1,000 households, compared to the high-water mark of 43.1 notices per 1,000 achieved in 2009. Defaults were down 12 percent when compared to 2010.
Foreclosures occurred at a rate of 11 houses per 1,000 in 2011, down from a peak of 21.1 foreclosures per 1,000 recorded in 2008. Foreclosure auctions were down 14 percent from 2010.
Housing experts still warn that foreclosure rates are still higher than average. A healthy real estate market should see a rate of 4 foreclosures per 1,000 households. Still, the real estate market in North County seems to be on the right track towards a healthy market.
Countywide Coastal Cleanup Day Seeks Volunteers
On September 17, the Coastal Cleanup Day will once again tidy up beaches, bays, rivers, parks and roadsides across San Diego County. The annual event is sponsored by San Diego Coastkeeper and I Love a Clean San Diego.
People interested in volunteering can visit www.cleanupday.org for more information.
The cleanup will run from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and organizers are hoping to recruit 10,000 volunteers to help at 90 sites around the county. The Coastal Cleanup is part of a larger statewide effort to remove trash throughout California. Even the U.S. Navy will be getting in on the act, contributing divers to help clear underwater debris in the region’s ocean and bays.
Organizers estimate that volunteers will remove around 200,000 pounds, or 100 tons, of debris on Saturday. A large portion of the trash, around 82-percent, is made up of non-biodegradable plastics, such as plastic shopping bags and food wrappers that have a negative impact on wildlife. In 2009, volunteers collected 74,000 plastic shopping bags.
A clean San Diego County is beneficial to all residents. Aside from creating a clean and safe environment for beach and park goers, clean coasts help boost real estate and property values for those living near the ocean, bays, lagoons and rivers.