One city’s loss is another city’s gain. But in this case, it’s nothing to celebrate, at least not for California cities.
Four metropolitan areas in California took the nation’s top four foreclosure spots, knocking Las Vegas, the reigning foreclosure capitol for 22 straight months, off its number one spot, according to RealtyTrac’s October report.
In the Inland Empire, the report showed one in every 155 housing units had a foreclosure filing in October, giving it the No. 4 spot.
And the region has plenty of California company.
Five other California metro areas had foreclosure rates that ranked among the top 10 in the nation, according to the report.
With one in every 143 housing units with a foreclosure filing in October, Stockton took No. 1. Modesto was a close second, followed by Vallejo-Fairfield at No. 3 and Merced at No. 9, with one in every 200 housing units in foreclosure.
Whether the October numbers present good news or bad news all depends on perspective, according to Daren Blomquist, director of marketing and communications for RealtyTrac.
“In the Inland Empire, for example, there were 23,159 foreclosures in March 2009,” Blomquist said. “It’s now averaging about 10,000 a month, but the normal is about 2,500 a month, which was back in 2006.”
Nationwide, foreclosure actions were filed on 230,678 U.S. homes in October, up 7% from the month before. California accounted for 55,312 of the filings.
“The increase we are seeing is from that second wave of foreclosures we’ve all anticipated for several months,” Blomquist said. “Distressed properties that were delayed by paper work and increased scrutiny from regulators are now hitting the market.”
Blomquist believes there will be several more waves of foreclosures before the housing market recovers.
“It’s kind of like the housing market is sick, and this is the medicine it needs to eventually get healthy, but the medicine taste bad in the short term.”
In an effort to prevent more foreclosures, last month President Obama announced a revised program to help underwater loan borrowers refinance at lower interest rates, even with little or no equity in their homes.