Foreclosures soar in Santa Clara County

January 7, 2009 7:38:39 AM PST
The home foreclosure crisis has picked up steam in Silicon Valley. Believe it or not, new data shows last year, Santa Clara County was the fastest growing county in California when it comes to people losing their homes.

Santa Clara County -- the heart of Silicon Valley, typically known as a wealthier region compared to some -- is not the county you'd expect to claim the 2008 title of biggest jump in foreclosure activity, compared to any other California county.

This surprising new statistic comes from a report just released by Default Research, which gathers data from public records. It says more than 18,000 properties in Santa Clara County entered some stage of foreclosure last year - that's a 239 percent jump from 2007. Solano and Fresno counties had the next most severe jump.

When it comes to sheer numbers of foreclosure filings in 2008, the report shows Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernadino counties top the statewide list.

Typically, East Bay county residents in Contra Costa and Solano have been victims of the dramatic rise in foreclosure filings, but industry observers say Santa Clara County is playing catch-up. Santa Clara County had relatively few in 2007 compared to other large counties. But Default Research says the huge jump in '08 foreclosures is due to the continuing fall in home prices and steep increase in mortgage delinquencies and bank seizures.

Some housing industry observers believe that until home prices hit bottom, the rising foreclosure trend will continue. Other factors expected to make for another tough year include: increasing job losses, a continuing decline in home values and higher monthly mortgage payments because of interests that went up.