The number of California homeowners falling into foreclosure declined in the last quarter to the lowest level in six years, according to new statistics released by San Diego-based DataQuick.
During the fourth quarter of 2012, lenders recorded a total of 38,212 notices of default (NODs) on California houses and condos. That was down 22.1% from 49,026 during the prior three months, and down 37.9% from 61,517 the in fourth quarter of 2011. Last quarter's number was the lowest since 37,994 NODs were recorded in the fourth quarter of 2006.
Foreclosure resales accounted for 16.6% of all California resale activity last quarter, down from 20% the prior quarter and 33.6% a year ago. It peaked at 57.8% in the first quarter of 2009. Foreclosure resales varied from 5% in San Francisco County to 31.4% in Sutter County.
Short sales made up an estimated 26% of statewide resale activity last quarter. That was down from an estimated 26.4% the prior quarter and up from 25.7% of all resales a year earlier. The estimated number (rather than percentage) of short sales last quarter rose 4.2% from a year earlier.
The median price paid for a home last quarter was $300,000 in California, up 22.4% from a year ago and 32.2% off the median's $227,000 bottom in first-quarter 2009, DataQuick reported.
‘Home values increased through most of 2012, and the rate of increase picked up toward the end of the year,’ says John Walsh, DataQuick president. ‘That means fewer and fewer homeowners are underwater, where they owe more than their homes are worth. That, in turn, means they can sell and pay off the mortgage, or perhaps refinance at today's low interest rates.’