Industry News

California foreclosure activity still rising

Pool of at-risk loans getting larger

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The number of mortgage default notices filed against California homeowners jumped last quarter to its highest level in more than 15 years, a real estate information service reported. Lending institutions sent homeowners 81,550 default notices during the October-to-December period. That was up by 12.4 percent from 72,571 the previous quarter, and up 114.6 percent from 37,994 for fourth-quarter 2006, according to DataQuick Information Systems. Last quarter's number of defaults was the highest in DataQuick's statistics, which go back to 1992. "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 its 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. The median price paid for a California home peaked at $484,000 last March and declined to $402,000 by the en...