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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

DataQuick: California Mortgage Defaults lowest since 2007

by Calculated Risk on 7/19/2011 02:58:00 PM

From DataQuick: Golden State Mortgage Defaults Drop to Four-Year Low

A total of 56,633 Notices of Default (NoDs) were recorded at county recorders offices during the April-to-June period. That was down 17.0 percent from 68,239 for the prior quarter, and down 19.2 percent from 70,051 in second-quarter 2010, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

Last quarter's activity was the lowest for any quarter since 53,493 NoDs were recorded in the second quarter of 2007. It was well below half the record 135,431 default notices recorded in the first quarter of 2009.

"A lot of theories are being floated as to why the numbers are down. Bank policy changes. Legal challenges. Politics. Holding back temporarily so as not to flood the market. The fact of the matter is that no one really knows, outside of lending and servicing industry insiders. ..." said John Walsh, DataQuick president.
Most of the loans going into default today are from the 2005-2007 period: the median origination quarter for defaulted loans is still third-quarter 2006. That has been the case for more than two years, indicating that weak underwriting standards peaked then.
And on completed foreclosures:
Trustees Deeds recorded (TDs), or the actual loss of a home to foreclosure, totaled 42,465 during the second quarter. That was down 1.4 percent from 43,052 for the prior quarter, and down 10.9 percent from 47,669 for second-quarter 2010. The all-time peak was 79,511 in third-quarter 2008.

Last quarter's trustees deeds total was the lowest since 35,431 were filed in fourth quarter 2010, and the second-lowest since fourth quarter 2007, when 31,676 were filed.
DataQuick California Defaults Click on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

This graph shows the annual Notices of Default (NODs) filed in California. The current year was estimated at the total for Q1 plus 3 times the Q2 rate.

California had a significant housing bust in the early '90s, with defaults peaking - and prices bottoming - in 1996. That bust was mild compared to the recent housing bust - and defaults are still way above the 1996 peak.

On the reasons for the decline: I think legal and political issues are more focused on the foreclosure process, and that the filing of default notices is probably still pretty routine - so even though the foreclosure pipeline is still pretty full, I think the decline in NODs actually suggests fewer defaults.

Housing Starts increase in June
Multi-family Starts and Completions