Explaining Southern California's economy

September foreclosures: California continues to see improvement

Reed Saxon

A foreclosure in Pasadena. RealtyTrac reports that California's foreclosure rate fell substantially in September, year-over-year.

There's good news and bad news for California on the foreclosures front. The bad news is that California is still one of the top three states nationwide for foreclosure rates. The good news is that the situation is improving dramatically and has been for months.

So how does a nice, big year-over-year drop in foreclosures starts strike you? That’s what Irvine-based RealtyTrac has tabulated in its latest Foreclosure Market Report for September and the third quarter of 2012: a 45 percent plunge. That’s nearly a six-year low.

Foreclosure starts also dipped from August to September in California, by 19 percent. California isn't just getting a break on foreclosures — the state is beginning to see real recovery from one of the worst aspects of the housing crisis.

That all sounds great, but we're not out of the woods yet. California remains in the top three for foreclosure rates nationally, along with Florida and Arizona. And when it came to notices of default — the first stage of the foreclosure process — California led the U.S. in the third quarter of 2012, with almost 47,000 NODs filed.

Even so, California is starting to put the foreclosure crisis behind it. In other parts of the country, however, the agony is just getting started. This is because California, a "non-judicial" foreclosure state, worked through its foreclosure backlog before "judicial" states in the rest of the nation. Those states are now playing catch-up, so to speak.

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