Foreclosures stay at low levels in Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced counties

04/23/2014 10:29 AM

04/23/2014 4:47 PM

Home foreclosures remain at low levels throughout the Northern San Joaquin Valley, newly released statistics show.

In Stanislaus County, 192 properties were lost to foreclosure in January, February and March, according to public records gathered by DataQuick.

Compare that with the fall of 2008, when banks repossessed more than 2,800 Stanislaus homes. That was the worst point of the region’s six-year foreclosure crisis.

From 2007 through 2013, more than 29,000 of the county’s homes went into mortgage default and were taken back by lenders.

While statistically the foreclosure mess is over, some homeowners continue to struggle to make mortgage payments.

During the first three months of this year, 343 Stanislaus property owners received “notices of default,” which is the first step in the foreclosure process.

Compare that with the more than 3,500 notices filed during the darkest three-month period of the foreclosure crisis.

While more default notices were delivered in Stanislaus this year than last, DataQuick analyst Andrew LePage said that was caused by an anomaly.

“California’s Homeowner’s Bill of Rights kicked in in January 2013, and that dragged down (default filings) for the whole state,” he explained. Because many lenders delayed starting new foreclosures while they adjusted to that law, LePage said, comparing this year’s statistics with last year’s is misleading. “Stanislaus remains at nearly an eight-year low for defaults.”

Meanwhile, in Merced County, 61 homes were lost to foreclosure during January, February and March, which was 64 percent fewer than during the same months last year. In San Joaquin County, 270 homes were foreclosed, a more than 38 percent drop.

Like Stanislaus, both Merced and San Joaquin had slight increases in the number of default notices filed.

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