Explaining Southern California's economy

California and Stockton top foreclosure statistics nationwide

Foreclosure

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For sale signs are posted on a foreclosed house in Glendale, California. Foreclosures in the state are falling, but it still had the worst rate in July.

Sometimes, the good news and the bad news are the same thing. That's the takeaway from the July 2012 foreclosure report that Irvine-based RealtyTrac just released. According the the foreclosure marketer's crunching of the numbers, California had the country's highest foreclosure rate in July, with "one in every 325" homes at risk of reverting to bank ownership. That's despite the foreclosure rate dropping in California by 11 percent since June and 25 percent since June of 2011.

Like I said, good-bad news.

Meanwhile, at the municipal level, California sports the top four cities for foreclosures, with Stockton — now bankrupt — topping the list, with one in every 135 homes in foreclosure. Vallejo-Fairfield, Riverside- [also bankrupt] San Bernardino-Ontario, and Modesto follow Stockton. Then in come Palm Bay-Melbourbe-Titusville and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (numbers five and nine, respectively) in Florida to break up a sweep of the top ten by California's beleaguered cities.

But there's more good-bad news from California in this front. Both Palm Bay and Tampa saw significant — and in the case of Palm Bay, huge — month-over-month and year-over-year upticks foreclosures. California's foreclosure-ridden cities all saw decent declines for the same period.

RealtyTrac noted that nationwide, foreclosure starts has been picking up for the past three months (May-July); in July, they were up 6 percent year-over-year. This suggests that a foreclosure "wave" — as RealtyTrac's Daren Blomquist recently explained to me, speaking about the California market — is building across the nation, as banks accelerate the foreclosure process.

The biggest city in RealtyTrac's July report was Chicago, which had more than 12,000 homes — close to 13,000, in fact — in foreclosure in July (although it's lumped in with Joliet and Napierville). That beat the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario area by well over 4,000 foreclosures. And in the Chicago region, the foreclosure rate has gone up 35 percent since last July, according to RealtyTrac.

Sometimes the news isn't good-bad. It's just bad-bad.

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