Foreclosure Sales Steadily Climbing

Foreclosure Sales Steadily Climbing

Despite Increases, Lenders Voluntarily Delaying 73 Percent of Scheduled Foreclosures

PropertyRadar, the only website that tracks every California foreclosure with daily auction updates; today issued its California Foreclosure Report for May 2009. Foreclosures sales jumped 31.9 percent in May, following a 35 percent increase the prior month. Notices of Trustee Sale, which set the auction date and time, also rose a significant 42 percent from April, indicating that foreclosure sales are likely to continue to rise in the weeks and months ahead. Despite these increases, and a record number of foreclosures scheduled for auction, lenders continue to voluntarily postpone the majority of foreclosure sales.

High-level findings for May 2009 include:

    • Notices of Default, which are the first step in the foreclosure process, fell 4.2 percent from April to 40,870 filings. Year-over-year filings were down 3.1 percent from May of 2008.
    • Notices of Trustee Sale filings reached a new record level in May with 41,959 filings, representing an increase of 42 percent from April. Filings were 24.1 percent higher than a year earlier and 7.6 percent higher than the previous record set in July of 2008.
    • Foreclosures taken to sale at auction reached 17,871, a 31.9 percent increase from the prior month, but 30 percent lower than a year earlier. Though loan values represented a total of $8.01 Billion in May, 83 percent of the sales were taken to auction with a discounted opening bid that averaged just 58.6 percent of the loan value.
    • The majority of foreclosure sales continue to be taken back by the lender, with 87.9 percent, or 15,599 sales, with a total loan value of $6.98 Billion, taken back by the lender in May.
    • Third-party foreclosure auction sales continued to increase substantially to a total of 2,272, an increase of 39 percent from the prior month, and a significant 228.3 percent increase from May 2008. More than half of third-party sales occurred in just five counties: Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, Riverside, and Sacramento.
    • Lender discounts at auction decreased slightly to an average of 40 percent with Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Monterey counties seeing the largest discounts at 47 to 49 percent on average.

"While many complain that lenders are foreclosing too aggressively, and others claim a wave of foreclosures sales is imminent, the data actually shows that lenders are doing everything possible to delay foreclosure," says Sean O'Toole, founder, and CEO of PropertyRadar. "The reality is that we have very few homeowners being foreclosed on when viewed as a percentage of those scheduled to be foreclosed on, in default, delinquent, or upside down in their mortgage."As the only service that tracks every foreclosure auction throughout the state, PropertyRadar is uniquely able to see not only how many foreclosures were initiated, but also the current status of those foreclosures and their ultimate outcomes, whether postponed, canceled, or sold.

By the end of May, we had a record 111,824 foreclosures scheduled for sale, yet just 15.9 percent were actually sold, versus 49.2 percent of scheduled foreclosures being sold a year earlier. Further, when sales peaked in July 2008 at levels 61 percent higher than those reached in May 2009, there were only 64,598 foreclosures scheduled for sale, 42.2 percent fewer than today. Of those foreclosures currently scheduled, 40 percent are being postponed to a future date at the lenders' request, and another 33 percent are being postponed based on the mutual agreement of lender and borrower, clearly demonstrating that lenders are indeed delaying foreclosure in the majority of cases on their own accord. Specifically note that lenders were under no obligation in May to offer a loan modification program, short sale, or other resolution and that these efforts would have resulted in a cancellation of the sale rather than a postponement. May saw just 6 percent of scheduled foreclosures canceled, the lowest percentage of cancellations we have on record.

California Foreclosure Activity



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 indicate the number of properties sold at a foreclosure auction. Percentage changes are based on monthly Sales. The data presented by PropertyRadar is based on county records and individual sales results from daily foreclosure auctions throughout the state—not estimates or projections.

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