San Diego foreclosures and mortgage defaults rose in April, but those numbers remain lower than normal in light of an improving economy and rising home prices, suggests a report from real estate tracker DataQuick on Tuesday.
Notices of default, which signal the start of the foreclosure process, have risen for the past three months to 712 in April. Despite that run-up, they’re about 46 percent lower than the same time a year ago. The county has seen year-over-year drops in mortgage defaults for the past 10 months. They peaked at 3,832 in March 2009.
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Foreclosures rose 12 percent to 280, when comparing March to April tallies. They’ve been about halved from a year ago and have seen annual drops for the past 31 months. Trustee deeds, which signal a foreclosure, peaked at 2,004 in July 2008.
Rising home prices and the increased use of government mortgage programs are some of the likely reasons for falling mortgage distress countywide, said Mark Goldman, a real estate professor at San Diego State University.
When home values rise, more property owners may sell because they’re less likely to be underwater on their mortgages, Goldman said. In April, prices hit the highest level in five years, as distressed home sales continue to dwindle.
Also, government programs have been helping certain underwater homeowners refinance their mortgages to lower payments, which can help them stay in their homes, Goldman said. The refinancing market has been “very active,” Goldman said, because mortgage rates are so attractive. The 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.51 percent last week, while the 15-year fixed was 2.69 percent, according to Freddie Mac.
Foreclosures and mortgage defaults continue to fluctuate but are generally trending down. So whatever happened to the foreclosure surge some real estate experts predicted roughly two years ago?
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