Santa Clara County Foreclosures Jump 72 Percent

Santa Clara County Foreclosures Jump 72 Percent

A total of 434 foreclosures occurred in Santa Clara County in March, up from 253 a year earlier, according to a report released Tuesday by ForeclosureRadar, a Discovery Bay company. San Mateo County posted 233 foreclosures last month, more than double the 80 that took place in March 2009. That was the biggest increase there since July 2008.

The situation may worsen later this year.

“We’ve seen an increase in foreclosure filings since the beginning of the year, and I would anticipate that the trend would continue,” said Mark Skilling, chief operating officer at ForeclosureRadar.

There were 19,308 foreclosures in California last month, up 92 percent from March 2009, when 10,040 took place.

Part of the reason for the steep year-over-year increases is that in March 2009 many lenders voluntarily halted foreclosures while the federal government prepared to release the Making Home Affordable plan. That plan includes loan modification and refinancing programs for homeowners at risk of foreclosure, but it has not been nearly as effective as the government hoped.

“Making Home Affordable has lagged expectations in terms of delivering loan modifications instead of foreclosures,” said Paul Leonard of the Center for Responsible Lending’s Oakland office. “I don’t think anybody is expecting an end to foreclosures anytime soon.”

Last month, the Obama administration rolled out a refinancing plan to help homeowners who are current with their loan payments but owe significantly more to their mortgage lenders than their homes are worth, which is known as being “underwater.” The announcement also included greater incentives for lenders to modify second-mortgage debts, and a forbearance program for homeowners who have lost their jobs. (View details at

But it’s unclear how much of a dent even the new provisions will make in the default and foreclosure problem. A report released Monday by Lender Processing Services, which provides mortgage performance data to the lending industry, said that in January and February, 1.1 million loans nationwide became newly delinquent, falling at least 30 days past due.

In March, 1,082 Santa Clara County homeowners received notices of default from their lenders, the first step in the foreclosure process. That number was up from 976 such filings in February, but down from 1,714 in March 2009.

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