Sales of foreclosed homes shot up 27 percent last month in the county and 92 percent statewide as a backlog of lender-repossessed properties cleared the market, a real estate tracking firm reported today.
According to Bay Area-based ForeclosureRadar.com's monthly "California Foreclosure Report," 3,285 foreclosure sales were recorded in Los Angeles County in March. The figure compares to 2,581 sales in February and 1,641 sales a year ago.
He attributed the surge to lenders catching up after voluntarily holding off on foreclosure proceedings following the implementation in March 2009 of the federal Home Affordable Modification Program, in which qualifying borrowers' mortgage payments can be reduced under government-brokered agreements with banks.
"Despite efforts to promote foreclosure alternatives like loan modifications and short sales, the simple reality is that there isn't a program for everyone," O'Toole said. "Unraveling trillions in excess debt will take time, and foreclosure is part of the solution, not the problem."
Los Angeles County led the state in foreclosure sales volume last month, followed by Riverside and San Bernardino County.
O'Toole predicted foreclosure sales will continue to rise, noting that the lag time between trustees' notices of default and notices of sale has increased from an average 142 to 188 days, with inventories of foreclosed properties swelling.