California may finally be seeing a silver lining in the beleaguered housing market: the number of default notices filed by banks in the first quarter of 2011 is the lowest in four years. Industry analysts report that, at just over 68,000, the number of foreclosure notices is down by 2.2 percent from the previous quarter, and nearly 16 percent from 2010. While this cheery news could be a sign that the worst of the foreclosure mess is behind us, experts caution that are still plenty of foreclosures on the books to sort through. In fact, repossessions of homes already in the process are up by over 21 percent from the previous quarter. Yet the question remains - why the significant drop in foreclosures? Analysts suggest an improved employment outlook and continuing investigations into shoddy foreclosure practices by state and federal officials. As numbers continue to fluctuate throughout the industry, what does it mean for California’s real estate market? Have we finally seen the bottom of the barrel? If you’ve been facing foreclosure, has your situation changed?
John Karevoll, Analyst, DataQuick Information Systems
Richard Green, Director, USC Lusk Center for Real Estate