Tuesday, April 20, 2010

DataQuick: Foreclosures moving to mid-to-high end

by Bill McBride on 4/20/2010 04:00:00 PM

As a followup to the previous post, here is some more data from DataQuick:

"We are seeing signs that the worst may be over in the hard-hit entry-level markets, while problems are slowly spreading to more expensive neighborhoods. We're also seeing some lenders become more accommodating to work-outs or short sales, while others appear to be getting stricter about delinquencies. It's very noisy out there," [John Walsh, DataQuick president] said.

The state's most affordable sub-markets, which represent 25 percent of the state's housing stock, accounted for 47.5 percent of all default activity a year ago. In first-quarter 2010 that fell to 40.9 percent.

California's mid- to high-end housing markets were more likely to have seen a rise in mortgage defaults last quarter, though the concentration of default activity - measured by defaults per 1,000 homes - remained relatively low in those areas.

For example, zip codes statewide with median home sale prices of $500,000-plus saw mortgage defaults buck the overall trend and rise 1.5 percent last quarter compared with the prior quarter, while year-over-year the decline was 19 percent (versus a 40.2 percent marketwide annual decrease). Collectively, these zips saw 4.5 default notices filed for every 1,000 homes in the community, compared with the overall market's rate of 9.3 NODs for every 1,000 homes statewide.

In zip codes with medians below $500,000, mortgage default filings fell 5.8 percent from the prior quarter and declined nearly 43 percent from a year earlier. However, collectively these zips saw 10.5 NODs filed for every 1,000 homes - more than double the default rate for the zips with $500,000-plus medians.

On average, homes foreclosed on last quarter spent 7.5 months winding their way through the formal foreclosure process, beginning with an NOD. A year ago it was 6.8 months. The increase could reflect, among other things, lender backlogs and extra time needed to pursue possible loan modifications and short sales.

Foreclosure resales accounted for 42.6 percent of all California resale activity last quarter. It was up from a revised 40.6 percent the prior quarter, and down from 57.8 percent a year ago, the peak.
The foreclosure rates in the mid-to-high end areas will never be as high as in the low end areas, but the percentage of total foreclosures will probably continue to increase. I also expect the average time in the foreclosure process to start to decrease this year as the lenders start clearing out the backlog.