The number of foreclosure filings in Merced County went down last month compared to activity in 2009, according to a new report by RealtyTrac.
A total of 765 county homeowners received a foreclosure filing against their house last month. RealtyTrac's definition of filings includes default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions. In some cases, one home could receive more than one of these filings over the course of a month.
The number of filings here in January was down 21 percent from December 2009, and down 45 percent from one year ago.
Nearly 316,000 properties nationwide received a filing last month, a decrease of nearly 10 percent from December, but still 15 percent above the number reported in January 2009. The data also show that one in every 409 U.S. homes received a foreclosure filing this January.
In California, Merced logged the fourth-highest rate of filings in January, with one foreclosure filing for every 109 houses. Stanislaus County residents received the highest percentage of notices statewide, with one in every 107 homes filed against.
Homeowners facing foreclosure should contact a foreclosure avoidance counselor who's certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for help. A directory of counselors is available at www.hud.gov. One local counselor, No Homeowner Left Behind of the Central Valley, can be reached at (559) 221-6919.
Homeowners having trouble coping with emotional or physical stress should seek help immediately, by calling their personal doctor or a crisis hotline. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides trained counselors at (800) 273-8255. The Merced County crisis hotline's number is (209) 381-6800.
Reporter Danielle E. Gaines can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or firstname.lastname@example.org.