Foreclosures.com, a real estate information publisher and investment advisory firm, reported today that mortgage defaults are rising in California, due in part to a slowdown in price appreciation.

Alexis McGee, Foreclosures.com president, reported 10,247 notices of default for third-quarter 2005 in major Southern California counties, while in eight of the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties the total was 3,150. “Defaults in California’s southland are moving off the historic baseline because the hot markets there are finally cooling down,” McGee said in a statement.

She added that defaults were still low in the San Francisco Bay Area because the price correction there had just barely begun. “We saw a little jump in Sacramento County to 1,051 defaults in the third quarter, up from 919 in the second quarter, and that market is definitely slowing, especially at the high end.” She went on to say that when prices cycle over the top, weakness first appears in the most expensive segment of markets across the country.

“As interest rates rise, we’ll see an end to the price boom of the last several years,” McGee stated. “But we won’t see a price crash like we did in the ’90s. The high inventory just isn’t there. We will see an increase in mortgage defaults for several reasons.” She cited the example of a rise in the use of adjustable-rate mortgages. “As rates rise, their payments will be going up. With little growth in real personal income, those households are vulnerable.”

She added, “We teach our investor clients how to first offer defaulted homeowners free help on finding workout solutions with their lenders in order to keep their homes.

“If that is not possible, then they help them preserve some of their equity to get a new start, by selling their way out of foreclosure. Our clients save many more homes than they buy. Either way, the homeowners avoid losing everything in a foreclosure auction.”

Foreclosures.com publishes foreclosure property information in six major U.S. markets and offers training and investor advisory services. Foreclosures.com also announced today that it has redesigned its Web site, which has over 700,000 nationwide foreclosure property listings, and the company also launched an interactive foreclosure investors’ Web site.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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