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California Foreclosure Report - Foreclosure Notices Up 34% over '08

Santa Barbara October 31, 2009 -- RealtyStore, the nation's leading provider of foreclosure listings, released its year-to-date California Foreclosure Report for 2009.

RealtyStore recorded 485,574 Notices of Default (NODs) statewide for the first three quarters of 2009, a 34% jump from NODs recorded in the same period in 2008. Since an NOD is filed by the lending institution when a homeowner falls behind on mortgage payments, NOD filings serve as an indicator of homeowner financial distress in each region.

RealtyStore analysts subdivided California into five main regions: Southern California, the Bay Area, the Central Coast, the Central Valley and Northern California.

The figures indicate that many California homeowners are struggling even more in 2009 to meet their mortgages. The Northern California region shows a 76% increase in NODs over the same period last year (a 166% increase in Plumas County alone). The Bay Area and Southern California also display evidence of homeowner hardship, both coincidentally showing a 37% increase over the same period last year. The Central Coast shows a 27% increase, and even the Central Valley shows a 25% increase in NODs.

"Foreclosures are up throughout California and home prices are lower than they've been in years," says Tim Chin, CEO of RealtyStore. "This represents a unique buying opportunity for investors and first-time home buyers throughout the state."

Southern California
Southern California reported a total of 279,164 NODs during the past three quarters of 2009. Mono County, up in the Sierra Nevada, was heavily impacted by the real-estate crisis with a 144% increase in NODs over the same period last year. Mariposa and Inyo counties also seem heavily affected, with NOD increases of 85% and 72% respectively.

Los Angeles County has 99,827 NODs year-to-date, a 47% upsurge over the same period last year, and neighboring Orange County shows a similar increase (43%). San Diego's NOD activity shows a 34% increase, while Riverside and San Bernardino both show a 27% increase.
A 4-bedroom home in Murrieta with an estimated value of $342,000 listed at only $150,000 is just one of the many bargain properties found on due to the increase in defaults.

Bay Area
The Bay Area saw 74,104 defaults - an increase of 37% over the same period in '08. Areas that got deeply swept up in the real-estate bubble, such as San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo Counties show the highest increases in NOD activity at 86%, 65% and 63% respectively. Santa Clara and Napa Counties also show noticeable increases at 46% and 42%.

A 4-bedroom home in Novato, with an estimated value of $541,500, is listed on for only $419,900 and a 4-bedroom home in Napa, estimated at $304,500, is listed for just $193,000.
Central Coast

Holding steady just a few months ago, the Central Coast now shows signs of distress, with notices of default increasing 27%. Santa Cruz saw the most dramatic year-to-date NOD spike at 66%, followed closely by San Luis Obispo with a 63% jump. Santa Barbara County NODs increased by 26%, while Monterey County showed a modest 4% increase in NODs.

A home in Salinas estimated at $115,000 is listed on for just $39,900. In Santa Maria, a home estimated at $207,000 is listed for only $99,750.

Central Valley
Signs of owner distress were also evident in the Central Valley. With 111,080 NODs, the region experienced a 25% increase in NODs over the same period in 2008. El Dorado County had the sharpest increase at 92%, followed by Kings County and Glenn County at 85% and 84% respectively. Butte (68%), Placer (60%), Shasta (55%) and Tulare (53%) all showed a considerable increase in NOD activity. Only San Joaquin County held relatively steady with a 5% increase.

In Placerville, a 1,542 sq. ft., 3-bdr/2-bth home with an estimated value of $237,000 is listed on for only $141,570. In Corcoran, a 1,360 sq. ft. 3-bdr/2-bth home estimated at $173,000 is listed for just $72,270.

Northern California
Northern California shows a 76% increase in its 7,822 NODs year-to-date, with several of its counties showing triple-digit spikes in NOD activity. Modoc County, once holding relatively steady, now shows an increase of 125%. Mendocino County shows a 117% increase, and Tuolumne is not far behind at 109%.

A 2-bedroom home in Ukiah, estimated at $306,000, is listed at for only $94,900.
Similarly, a Sonora 3-bdr/2-bth home with an estimated value of $265,500 is listed for only $93,000.

Efforts to stem the increase in foreclosures seemingly have had little impact in California, with NODs continuing to climb in all its five main regions. Home prices on foreclosed homes have dipped in many areas of California. In Southern California, sale prices for houses and condominiums fell over 10% compared to prices from a year ago.

This volatility has had one positive result - the combination of lowered prices and abundance of REOs has made homes accessible to first-time home-buyers and low-income families, perhaps for the first time in years.

About RealtyStore: Founded in 2005, RealtyStore is the fastest growing, most trusted provider of foreclosure listings and information in the nation with over 1 million pre-foreclosure, foreclosure auction, bank-owned, and tax sale property listings. Collected from hundreds of public and private sources, RealtyStore's proprietary database includes extensive property characteristics (including pictures and maps), default and tax information, comparable home values, and neighborhood demographics information.

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