Lenders have foreclosed on 1,500 Sonoma County homes thus far this year, a pace that shows few signs of abating.
Foreclosures increased 11 percent in the third quarter from the previous three months, according to San Diego-based MDA DataQuick. The pace remains about the same as last year but is less than 2008, when a record 2,800 homes were lost during the entire year.
Foreclosures in the third quarter were down 8 percent compared to a year earlier.
The new data shows that banks and servicing companies initiated significantly fewer foreclosure proceedings in the county to date this year. Notices of defaults, the first step in the foreclosure process, are down 38 percent for the first nine months of 2010, compared to a year earlier.
For the third quarter, the notices declined 26 percent compared to a year earlier.
Still, real estate agents expressed skepticism that the drop in defaults is due to some turning point in the shaky housing market.
“I don’t see any signs of it getting better,” said James Madison, a Coldwell Banker agent in Santa Rosa who specializes in selling homes the banks have acquired through foreclosure.
Lenders in the third quarter filed 954 notices of default in Sonoma County, as well as 539 trustee’s deeds, which are recorded when the home is lost in foreclosure.
For California, lenders filed 83,261 notices of default in the third quarter. That was up 19 percent from the prior quarter but down 26 percent from a year earlier.
The state recorded 45,377 trustee’s deeds, down 5 percent from the prior quarter and 9 percent from a year earlier.
The record for trustee’s deeds was 79,511 in the third quarter of 2008.
— Robert Digitale