New housing numbers released Thursday suggest banks are advancing foreclosure cases that have been sitting in limbo for years.
The numbers are for the month of May, looking at each stage of the foreclosure process. Research firm RealtyTrac says foreclosure starts, or notices of default, were down 15 percent from a year ago. However, completions, or bank repos, were up 31 percent.
Those numbers may seem to contradict each other. But RealtyTrac’s Daren Blomquist says starts are down because people are getting better home loans. Completions are tied to something else:
"Those are tied to loans that were originated back between 2004 and 2008, believe it or not, that have just taken so long to make their way through the foreclosure process," says Blomquist "And are now finally being foreclosed on. That’s why we see that divergence in the trends between the starts and the completions."
Blomquist says the trend is positive for neighborhoods because homes aren’t sitting vacant and it’s good for homebuyers who have more homes available to choose from.
Sacramento saw a little more than 960 properties with foreclosure filings in May - up four percent from a year ago.
"The primary reason for the increase in Sacramento was in the bank repossessions," says Blomquist, "those were up 31 percent year over year. Foreclosure starts actually in Sacramento were up three percent, but there were still only about 400 foreclosure starts which is on par with what we were seeing prior to the housing crisis."
Sacramento now has the 66th highest foreclosure rate in the country among the more than 200 metro areas RealtyTrac follows nationwide. During the height of the foreclosure crisis, Sacramento was often in the top 10 or top 20.