Discovery Bay, CA, March 12, 2009 ForeclosureRadar, the only website that tracks every California foreclosure with daily auction updates; today issued its California Foreclosure Report for February 2009. The average difference between current market value and outstanding loan amount exceeded $200,000 for properties sold at foreclosure auction in February. This represents a 189 percent increase in negative equity when compared to properties foreclosed on a year earlier. Notices of Default have increased 21.3 percent from January and have nearly returned to the peak levels reached in April 2008, despite the President’s Day holiday and February being a short month. Properties sold at foreclosure auction (trustee sales), rose 11.9 percent from January to 17,131.
“Despite their unpopularity, foreclosures and short sales are currently the only mechanisms working to eliminate the negative equity now plaguing 30 percent of Californians,” says Sean O’Toole, founder and CEO of ForeclosureRadar. “While prices have corrected to affordable levels in many parts of California, housing markets and the economy continue to suffer due to the unsustainable debt taken on during the housing bubble.”
The average property sold at auction in February of 2009 had $201,052 in negative equity, based upon an average value of $250,030, $422,349 in loans, and an additional $28,733 in negative amortization, interest and fees. A year earlier the average foreclosure had $69,529 in negative equity, based on a value of $378,578, loans totaling $423,111 and negative amortization interest and fees of $24,997. These averages likely underestimate negative equity as they exclude past due amounts and negative amortization on 2nd mortgages for which no Notice of Default has been filed.
Nearly 99 percent of the loans foreclosed on in February were originally made between 2004 and 2007, with 46 percent having been made in 2006 alone. On average, these properties were 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and 1,589 square feet, with more built in 2005 than any other year at 5.7 percent of February’s foreclosures.
Opening bids at auction were discounted an average of 36.3 percent from the outstanding loan balance, a decline of nearly 5 percent from the prior month. Still, the number of properties that were discounted by 50 percent or more increased to 6,307 of the 17,131 taken to auction. The largest discounts were found in Monterey, San Benito and San Joaquin counties, at over 46 percent, while San Francisco County continued to see the smallest discounts of any major county at 20 percent. “These deep auction discounts reflect the significant negative equity lenders and homeowners are facing, while also offering opportunities for knowledgeable investors,” offers O’Toole.
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CALIFORNIA FORECLOSURE REPORT METHODOLOGY
Rankings are based on population per foreclosure sale. NDF indicates the number of Notices of Default that were filed at the county, and NTS indicates filed Notices of Trustee Sale. Sales indicates the number of properties sold at foreclosure auction. Percentage changes are based on monthly Sales. The data presented by ForeclosureRadar is based on county records and individual sales results from daily foreclosure auctions throughout the state—not estimates or projections.