Foreclosures decline dramatically in California in January

A foreclosed home in Pasadena. The pace for foreclosures fell off substantially in California from December to January. Reed Saxon

The pace of foreclosures in California has been slowing for some time, but last month marked   a major improvement in the crisis.

Real estate analytics firm RealtyTrac reported that California witnessed a dramatic decline in foreclosure activity from December: almost 39.5 percent. And for the first time since 2007, the state wasn’t the country’s foreclosures leader - it handed off that title to Florida.

RealtyTrac Vice-President Daren Blomquist says a new law brought about the change.

"That dramatic a decrease in one month is something beyond an organic decrease off the peak of foreclosures," he says. "We definitely believe it’s tied to this new package of legislation called the Homeowners Bill of Rights."

The law that took effect in January will make it more difficult for lenders to foreclose in California. It imposes fines if they break the rules.

However, California is still in the nation's top 10 foreclosure states. One in every 753 homes here had a filing in January.

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