After reaching their lowest level in a year in January, California's notices of default, which start the foreclosure process in the state, increased by 19.7% in February, ForeclosureRadar reports.
The number of properties scheduled for foreclosure sale remained near record levels, while foreclosure sales dropped by 11.9%, according to the firm's research.
"The disconnect between delinquencies, and foreclosure sales continues to widen," says Sean O'Toole, ForeclosureRadar CEO. "While efforts to slow foreclosures are clearly working, it remains unclear that anything has yet addressed the core problem of excess household mortgage debt."
Prior to February, notice of default filings declined for four consecutive months. Last month, 31,004 such filings were recorded, while filings of trustee sales – which set the date and time of the foreclosure auction – increased slightly, rising 3.6% to 28,195 filings.
Foreclosure-sale cancellations remained flat month-over-month, which ForeclosureRadar suggests is an indication that the Home Affordable Modification Program conversion drive is failing.
Despite fewer foreclosure sales overall in February, as well as smaller discounts due to competitive bidding, third-party investors purchased more foreclosures, at 23.2%, than at any other time since ForeclosureRadar began tracking trustee sales in September 2008.