Real estate data out today show the number of California homes entering the first-stage of the foreclosure process is down to pre-recession levels. But it's a different story for properties in the final stage.
Research firm RealtyTrac's November statistics show banks repossessed more than 2,500 California homes in November.
"We continue to see bank repossessions running a low-grade fever in California," says RealtyTrac's Daren Blomquist.
He says repos were up 26 percent year-to-date in November. And he says the increase was not just a one-month anomaly.
"We've now seen eight consecutive months in California where those REOs, or bank repossessions, have increased from a year ago," says Blomquist. "So that is a bit of a red flag."
Blomquist says banks are continuing to work through the backlog of foreclosures left over from the housing crisis.
"Of all the properties that are actively in foreclosure in California right now, 64 percent of them are on loans that were originated between 2004 and 2008," says Blomquist. "Which tells you most of this increase we're seeing is linked still to this last housing crisis."
Meanwhile, an eight percent drop in foreclosure starts last month helped pull the state's overall foreclosure activity down six percent from a year ago.
In the Sacramento region, bank repos were up 18 percent from a year ago.
"Out of the last eight months we've seen seven of those months with an increase in bank repossessions in Sacramento," says Blomquist. "Which tells us that we are dealing with a long tail of distress from the last housing crisis even though going forward things are looking good with the foreclosure starts being down."
Blomquist says starts were down 17 percent. And that helped pull the region's overall foreclosure rate down 10 percent from a year ago.
RealtyTrac says about 280 Stockton area properties received foreclosure filings in November, either: a default notice; a scheduled auction; or a bank repossession. Blomquist says the region's overall foreclosure rate was down 11 percent from a year ago.
"But the bank repossessions, the REOs, were actually up 83 percent year over year. And out of the last eight months, seven of those months we've seen an increase in REOs in Stockton."
Blomquist says what helped bring the region's overall foreclosure rate down by 11 percent is a drop in foreclosure starts.