Traditionally, California has had a low foreclosure rate. However, in the last quarter of 2006, 37,273 Default Notices were sent to California Homeowners; an increase of 36.9% since the previous quarter.
High appreciation and strong sales in many areas have masked the possibility of on-coming problems. With the cooling housing market; higher interest rates; those inventive loans (targeted at people with weak or blemished credit), and prices out-of-reach for many buyers, according to the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) 2.2 million American households will lose their homes; $164 billion due to foreclosures.
A Default Notice is the prelude to foreclosure; however, most Homeowners emerge from this tragic situation by:
1) Refinancing: drawing on the equity of the property to bring the mortgage payments current OR
2) Selling the Property: using the equity of the property to pay off the loan
Even so, earlier in the year, 32 percent of Homeowners who found themselves in default actually lost their homes to foreclosure; a year ago it was only 8 percent. This is in line with a study conducted by the Center for Responsible Lending who predicts that housing prices over the next five years will fall and cause exit strategies to shut down.
The housing boom is fading. The disconnection between incomes and high real estate prices is evident; there is an increase in the number of Californians struggling to hold onto their homes.
A majority of the loans that have gone into default originated between January 2005 and February 2006. The median age of the loan was fifteen months.
Homeowners were a median five months behind on their primary mortgage payments when the Lender initiated the Default process.
On Lines of Credit, the Homeowners were behind a median of six months.
On a loan-by-loan basis, mortgages are least likely to go into default in the Bay Area, but more likely to go into default in the Central Valley and Inland Empire areas of California.
There are 7.87 million properties in California, when one home forecloses the surrounding properties lose value, as well. By threatening the stability of the neighborhood, foreclosures hurt everyone.
Homeowners work hard to provide the economic security and ownership benefits to their families what changes can be made in this great country of ours so that owning a home is fair, affordable, and sustainable?