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A for sale sign is posted in front of house in Glendale, California. Foreclosure remains a big problem in Souther California, but it seems to be getting gradually better.
DataQuick, which tracks the U.S. housing market, has released new data on foreclosures in California. The good news is that foreclosures decelerated in the second quarter of 2012 statewide. The bad news is that in Southern California, the foreclosure situation has barely changed over last year. Making that bad news worse is that SoCal's had the highest number of foreclosures in the state in the second quarter, and more than twice and many as the next-worst region, the Central Valley.
The second quarter of 2011 saw around 30,000 notices of default (NOD), the first step in the foreclosure process, issued in SoCal. The same period in 2011 saw roughly the same, diminished by only about 2 percent.
The Bay Area, meanwhile, saw NODs drop by more than 13 percent, with an overall number of foreclosures that was already a third of what we're witnessing in SoCal.
All this roughly correlates with foreclosure data that RealtyTrac put out two weeks ago, which indicated that California may be experiencing another "wave" in foreclosures as banks gradually work through their backlog. California had more than 50,000 foreclosures in the second quarter of 2012, with activity declining in some cities — significantly, in places — and increasing in others — again, significantly in places.
However, if you push out all the way to end of the foreclosure process, when the former homeowner actually gives up his or her claim in the house, the numbers are way down all across the state. SoCal still has the biggest second-quarter numbers in this respect, but the year-over-year decline has been close to 50 percent.
The upshot is that there's light at the end of the foreclosure tunnel in California. But we still have some darkness to cross before we escape the state's long foreclosure nightmare.