Big Drop in Foreclosures Across Bay Area

Foreclosure sign

Initial foreclosure filings are down 50 percent or more across most of the Bay Area.

Foreclosure activity dropped sharply across the Bay Area in August, according to data released this week by ForeclosureRadar.

That’s good news for both homeowners and the real estate market in general. The drop in foreclosures may be a sign that homeowners are doing a better job of managing debt as the economy improves, but it’s also likely a result of pressure on banks to provide more help to struggling mortgage holders.

Earlier this year, the nation’s five largest lenders reached a $25 billion settlement with state and federal investigators looking into foreclosure abuses, with the lenders agreeing step up the pace of loan modifications and debt forgiveness on short sales.

We saw improvements in the foreclosure rate across all of the regions served by Pacific Union International, with San Francisco leading the way.

  • Notices of default — the first step in the foreclosure process — fell 50 percent from July to August in San Francisco and 71 percent from a year ago. Of the 133 foreclosure filings in the month, 67 percent were canceled, 17 percent of the properties went back to the bank and 16 percent were sold to a third party.
  • In Sonoma County, default notices fell 28 percent from July to August and 54 percent from a year ago. Of the 20,930 foreclosure filings in the month, 54 percent were canceled, 28 percent of the properties went back to the bank and 18 percent were sold to a third party.
  • Napa County saw default notices fall 26 percent from July to August and 51 percent from a year ago. Of the 92 foreclosure filings in the month, 60 percent were canceled, 26 percent of the properties went back to the bank and 14 percent were sold to a third party.
  • In Alameda County, default notices fell 18 percent from July to August and 54 percent from a year ago. Of the 762 foreclosure filings in the month, 59 percent were canceled, 24 percent of the properties went back to the bank and 17 percent were sold to a third party.
  • In Marin County, default notices fell 15 percent from July to August and 24 percent from a year ago. Of the 67 foreclosure filings in the month, 73 percent were canceled, 21 percent of the properties went back to the bank and 6 percent were sold to a third party.
  • Default notices in Contra Costa County fell 12 percent from July to August and 46 percent from a year ago. Of the 815 foreclosure filings in the month, 58 percent were canceled, 23 percent of the properties went back to the bank and 19 percent were sold to a third party.

Prices paid for foreclosed homes averaged $533,000 in San Francisco, up 6 percent from a year ago. In Alameda County, prices averaged $333,000, up 17 percent; Contra Costa County, $316,000, up 23 percent; Marin County, $407,000, down 9 percent; Napa County, $342,000, up 24 percent; and Sonoma County, $291,000, down 4 percent.

Statewide, default notices fell 24 percent from July to August and 49 percent from a year ago.

(Photo of foreclosure sign courtesy Jeffery Turner, via Flickr.)

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