--"The number of California homes entering the formal
foreclosure process during the first quarter declined to its lowest
level in almost five years, the result of a more stable economy and
housing market, as well as policies that increasingly favor short sales.
A total of 56,258 Notices of Default (NODs) were recorded at
county recorders offices during the first quarter of this year. That
was down 8.5% from 61,517 for the prior three months, and down
17.6% from 68,239 in first-quarter 2011. Last quarter's tally of 56,258 NODs was the lowest since
53,943 NODs were recorded in second-quarter 2007. NOD filings peaked in
first-quarter 2009 at 135,431.
"Prices peaked five years ago and then started to fall off a
cliff. Foreclosure activity goes up when property values decline, and
the worst of that decline was happening three years ago. Right now,
property values in many areas appear flat," said John Walsh, DataQuick
"A few years back, there were some breathtakingly negative
forecasts making the rounds regarding the foreclosure problem, some of
which have played out, and some of which haven't. The
'shadow supply' has yet to result in a second huge wave of foreclosures.
The 'reset problem' hasn't really materialized, largely because
interest rates are resetting down, not up. And, remarkably, whole
batches of presumed
'toxic' mortgages continue to perform. There's no doubt that housing,
especially negative equity, is one of the biggest drags on a struggling
economy, but it's not necessarily playing out the way some pundits
thought," he said."