Foreclosure activity in Fresno County is down more than 50% since last year, according to a monthly foreclosure report.
In August, 93 notices of default, the first step in the foreclosure process, were filed in Fresno compared to 146 the month before, according to PropertyRadar, a real estate data company. Last year, 226 notices of default were filed.
The notices of sale, which set a date and time of auction, increased slightly to 209 last month from 185 in July, but are is down 55% from 467 a year ago.
Foreclosures bottomed in California sometime in May and June and are trending sideways, said Madeline Schnapp, PropertyRadar’s director of economic research.
“The sideways trend reflects the ongoing recovery in the California real estate market,” she said.
Foreclosure activity in Fresno and California fell in May for the first time since January, a monthly foreclosure report said.
New federal guidelines on how to handle mortgages going into foreclosure slowed or stopped foreclosure sales in May while lenders digested the requirements, said Madeline Schnapp, economist for PropertyRadar, formerly ForeclosureRadar, the Truckee-based foreclosure listing service.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency sent a letter in April to the banks it oversees with a set of 13 questions employees must ask when reviewing a home in foreclosure.
“The purpose of this guidance is to ensure that borrowers will not lose their homes without their files receiving pre-foreclosure sale reviews,” the letter said.
Last month, 287 notices of default, the first step in the foreclosure process, were filed in Fresno County compared to 305 the month before, according to PropertyRadar’s report released Wednesday.
Foreclosed properties that were returned to the bank after auction, also known as real-estate-owned or REO property, also fell in May to 48 compared to 95 in April.
The Community Housing Council of Fresno is hosting a free housing resource fair for homeowners and home buyers on Nov. 10.
The event will be from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Bullard High School, 5445 N. Palm Ave., Fresno. It is open to people looking for information on the home-buying process and homeowners trying to avoid foreclosure.
Homebuyers can sign up for free homeowner education classes, hear about closing cost assistance and learn how to qualify for downpayment assistance.
Struggling homeowners can meet with bank representatives, learn about legal options and find other tools and resources with the help of housing counselors.
For more information, visit chcfresno.org.
RealtyTrac, a foreclosure listing service, is getting into the election hoopla with the release of its “Election 2012 Housing Health Check” – a look at voting trends and the state of the housing market during the last presidential election compared to now.
The report looked at 919 counties nationwide – including the four-county central San Joaquin Valley – and analyzed the average home price, unemployment, foreclosure inventory, foreclosure starts and the share of distressed sales.
The result: 65% of the housing markets nationwide are worse off than four years ago while 35% improved.
In Fresno County it’s no secret that home prices have fallen by about half of what they were during the housing boom. The average home price in Fresno so far this year is $173,341 compared to $218,664 in 2008, the report said.
But the good news is foreclosure starts, homes beginning the foreclosure process, are down. So far this year there were about 4,595 foreclosure starts in Fresno County compared to 7,564 four years ago, according to the report.
The trend is the same in the three other central San Joaquin Valley counties – Kings, Madera, Merced and Tulare.
“The U.S. housing market has shown strong signs of life in recent months, but many local markets continue to struggle with high levels of negative equity as the result of home prices that are well off their peaks,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac.
“While the worst of the foreclosure problem is in the rear view mirror for a narrow majority of counties, others are still working through rising levels of foreclosure activity, inventory and distressed sales as they continue to clear the wreckage left behind by a bursting housing bubble.”
Visit RealtyTrac to read the report or see some cool heat maps that show 2008 voting trends by county and compares housing market data from 2008 to this year.