California still high on foreclosure list

July 10, 2008 7:05:02 PM PDT
New home foreclosure numbers are out, and California still ranks high. It is the second worst state, next to Nevada -- about two and a half times the national average.

The foreclosure crisis remains as dismal as the air quality in much of the Bay Area.

The latest numbers from RealtyTrac reveal nationwide foreclosure filings jumped 53 percent compared with June a year ago.

That's despite some good news, that very recent filings have slowed a bit. In the Bay Area, from May to June of this year, filings dropped nine percent.

"Believe me, lenders want to keep people in their homes," said Christopher George from CMG Mortgage.

George is president of San Ramon's CMG Mortgage. He believes many lenders simply don't want any more foreclosed homes on their books.

"A dormant home, a foreclosed piece of property, an unoccupied home is most certainly a liability," said George.

Foreclosure filings from May to June dropped four percent in Contra Costa County, 25 percent in Alameda County.

"The overall impact is still incredibly destructive to the community," said Sheri Powers from the Unity Center.

Powers is manager of the Unity Center's foreclosure counseling service in Oakland.

"We're talking about decrease of 300 filings. The real question is what's happening to the ones that have been filed," said Powers.

Despite claims by lenders that they're working with people, powers says less than 20 percent of the 300 clients now in counseling, will actually get loan modifications.

The latest RealtyTrac numbers seem to contain at least a little good news, but those who work in the foreclosure markets everyday say they expect to see more trouble ahead.

Jon Wood is a Walnut Creek realtor who specializes in bank-owned properties.

"It's going to get worse. There's more inventory that's going to hit the market. In fact, recently I was in a meeting with IndyMac Bank and they're telling us that they think it's not going to peak until 2012," said Wood.

So at least some insiders believe, any rebound in the real estate market may still be years away.


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