Foreclosures in Contra Costa fall 12 percent

CONTRA COSTA COUNT, CA

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Even in hard-hit /*Contra Costa County*/, there's a glimmer of hope in the latest foreclosure numbers.

According to /*RealtyTrac*/, foreclosure activity in Contra Costa remains at record levels, but actually fell 12 percent from March to April of this year.

Still, according to mortgage advisor Michael Tacconi, many homeowners seeking a loan modification to avoid foreclosure are finding themselves lost in the shuffle when big name lenders like /*Countrywide*/ and /*Washington Mutual*/ change hands.

"With the mergers of the banks, it's kind of hard to see who's going to be handling the department, so there's been a big backlog of these modifications. Modifications have been taking as long as six months to a year to get done," said Tacconi.

As more homes go into foreclosure, the real estate market in East Contra Costa County is heating up.

Realtor Jim Walberg says these days foreclosed properties might sit on the market for just a few days, while their pricey counterparts in other parts of the county linger for months.

"We just listed a house a week ago in Dublin in the $650,000 range. We had six offers in two days and negotiated the sale in four days," said Walberg.

All the new foreclosures may provide a boost for the Contra Costa real estate market, but they're a drag for those who live in the hardest-hit neighborhoods.

Carla Dimaggio lives in Antioch, where several homes on her street have gone into foreclosure recently.

"It's mind-boggling, really that it's still happening. Nice families living in nice neighborhoods who just can't afford the mortgage and walk away," said Dimaggio

At least now, the foreclosed home next door probably won't stay empty and on the market for long.

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