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Coachella Valley foreclosure activity rises slightly in January

February 17th, 2014 | by Dominique Fong | Comments
Photo credit: David Zalubowski, Associated Press

Photo credit: David Zalubowski, Associated Press

Foreclosure filings in the Coachella Valley inched up a mere 2 percent in January from December 2013, according to a new housing report.

There were 251 foreclosure filings in January across the Coachella Valley, according to RealtyTrac, an Irvine-based real estate information services firm. That’s up from 246 filings in December 2013.

Foreclosure filings in California include three steps: notices of default, notices of trustee’s sale, or scheduled public auctions if the owner fails to pay what is owed during default, and bank repossessions.

The uptick mirrors the month-over-month national trend, according to RealtyTrac. Foreclosure filings were reported on 124,419 properties in the country, up 8 percent from December, the largest month-over-month increase since May 2012 for the country.

California also saw a 6.9 percent month-over-month bump in foreclosures in January. Foreclosures in the state do not have to be approved by a court.

Year-over-year in California, foreclosure starts increased 57 percent from a year ago in January 2013. The spike breaks a pattern of 17 consecutive months of annual decreases, according to RealtyTrac. Foreclosure starts are homes that have reported a notice of default.

The Coachella Valley reflected a similar year-over-year trend in foreclosure starts. There were 99 notices of default across the valley in January, down slightly from 103 notices in December, but 62 percent higher than the 61 notices in January 2013.

Though more homes are starting foreclosure than a year ago, fewer of them are ending in actual bank repossession. The number of homes in REO dropped 7 percent from December and 34 percent from a year ago in January 2013.

Programs designed to help homeowners find other options besides foreclosure may have helped. The California Homeowner Bill of Rights took effect January 2013, putting pressure on mortgage lenders to stop expeditious actions such as dual track foreclosures. In such an action, a lender continues the foreclosure process while negotiating a borrower’s loan modification at the same time.

The concentration of Coachella Valley homes going through foreclosure is healthier than the national average. One in 1,132 homes reported a foreclosure filing in January. By comparison in the same month, one in 1,058 housing units had a foreclosure filing across the country.

Business and real estate reporter Dominique Fong can be reached at (760) 778-4661, dominique.fong@thedesertsun.com and on Twitter @dominiquefong.

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