Report: California foreclosures up 421% in Q4, hit 20-year high

Jan 22, 2008

Foreclosures in California hit a 20-year high during the fourth quarter of 2007, a real estate research firm reported Tuesday.

DataQuick Information Systems said 31,676 homes ended up in foreclosure during the quarter ended Dec. 31, the highest number since the company began tracking such numbers in 1988.

The foreclosure figure is a 30.8 percent increase from the previous quarter and a 421.2 percent jump from 6,078 foreclosures in the same the same period of 2006.

Homeowners received 81,550 default notices during the quarter, up 12.4 percent from the previous quarter and more than 114 percent from the year-ago period.

DataQuick said the default figure was the highest since it began recording those totals in 1992.

Most of the loans that went into default last quarter were originated between August 2005 and October 2006. The median age was 22 months, up from 15 a year earlier, indicating that the pool of at-risk home loans is getting larger.

On primary mortgages statewide, homeowners were a median five months behind on their payments when the lender started the default process. The borrowers owed a median $11,121 on a median $340,000 mortgage.

On lines of credit, homeowners were a median seven months behind on their payments. Borrowers owed a median $3,379 on a median $56,000 credit line. However, the amount of the credit line that was actually in use cannot be determined from public records, DataQuick said.

"Foreclosure activity is closely tied to a decline in home values. With today's depreciation, an increasing number of homeowners find themselves owing more on a property than it's market value, setting the stage for default if there is mortgage payment shock, a job loss or the owner needs to move," said Marshall Prentice, DataQuick's president.

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