Foreclosure numbers show positive signs

September 12, 2008 8:03:57 AM PDT
A new report out Friday shows foreclosure numbers nationwide have hit a new high - with California among the hardest hit. But some say those same numbers show a glimmer of hope.

There is some good news here, of course, it's based on perspective of the data. While foreclosure numbers are at an all-time high, it's actually a smaller increase than in previous months this year - so overall, it could be a positive sign that rates are slowing down.

Nationwide foreclosure filings in August increased 27-percent compared to the same month a year ago. But Realty Trac, an online company that monitors foreclosure filings, says it's a significantly slower pace than in previous months this year which had increase of 50-percent or more.

Nationwide, foreclosures increased by 12 percent from July to August of this year. Even with the slowing pace, homeowners are suffering. California has the nation's second highest foreclosure rate and accounts for one-third of U.S. filings.

All nine Bay Area counties continue to report property foreclosures, some much worse than others. In the month of August, Contra Costa County recorded property foreclosure filings for one in every 94 homes; in Alameda County, it was one in every 165 households; Santa Clara County had foreclosure filings for one in every 205 homes; and Santa Cruz County, one in every 225 properties.

The housing crisis is clearly not over, but what remains to be seen is whether this slowing of foreclosure activity is a real sign of improvement; or is this a temporary lull perhaps because more mortgage lenders have been reworking their loan servicing guidelines, trying to help distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure.


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