Most Viewed Stories
Foreclosures plunge in Tulare County
Broker is not sure it is sign of turnaround
The number of foreclosure proceedings begun in Porterville and Tulare County plunged in March to one of the lowest levels in years.
RealtyTrac, a company that follows foreclosure trends, reported just 88 foreclosure proceedings were begun in Porterville in March. That is down from 119 in February and fewest in at least three years.
County-wide, only 489 foreclosure proceedings were begun during March, down from 645 in February and also the lowest for any month in at least three years.
Geane Lohse, broker and owner of Home Realty in Porterville, said he would like to believe the drop in foreclosures is a sign the market is beginning to turn around, but he doesn’t.
“They had so many defective foreclosures they just shut them down,” he said as to why the number dropped so dramatically.
At the same time, DataQuick which monitors real estate activity, reported the median price of homes sold in Porterville rose 7.2% in March over March a year ago, the largest jump since August of 2011.
DataQuick reported the median price paid for 58 homes sold in March was $103,000. That was more than the $96,000 median price paid in March of 2011 and the $100,000 median price recorded in February of this year.
Again, said Lohse, if there are fewer foreclosures, the price will rise a little.
Asked if the real estate industry is out of the woods, he replied, “I want to be, but I just don’t believe it.”
He said he expects a big jump in foreclosures later this summer as those being held back finally move forward.
He did say one partial reason for the decline is banks “are actually doing loan modifications.”
An estimated 37,481 new and resale houses and condos were sold statewide last month.
That was up 26.5 percent from 29,630 in February, and up 2.9 percent from 36,417 for March 2011.
A jump in sales from February to March is normal for the season. Last month’s sales were the strongest for the month of March since 39,811 were sold in 2007. On a year-over-year basis, sales have increased the past eight months. California sales for the month of March have varied from a low of 24,565 in 2008 to a high of 68,848 in 2005, while the average is 43,883. DataQuick’s statistics go back to 1988.
The median price paid for a home last month was $251,000, up 5.0 percent from $239,000 in February, and up 0.8 percent from $249,000 for March a year ago. The year-over-year increase was the first since September 2010. The bottom of the current cycle was $221,000 in April 2009, while the peak was $484,000 in early 2007.
In the county, home prices rose in nearly every area, with Springville prices up 84 %, but just for eight sales. Home prices declined in Lindsay, going from $95,000 a year ago to $86,750 this March. Prices also declined in Visalia (9.6%), but were up 18% in Tulare.
Foreclosures were down in nearly every community. In Porterville, RealtyTrac reported that foreclosure proceedings were begun in 1 in every 267 homes. Lindsay had 15 homes foreclosed upon in March, while Springville saw seven and Tulare 76.
Distressed property sales — the combination of foreclosure resales and “short sales” — continued to make up more than half of California’s resale market.
Of the existing homes sold last month, 32.5 percent were properties that had been foreclosed on during the past year — the lowest level for any month since January 2008.
Last month’s figure was down from a revised 33.9 percent in February and down from 39.1 percent in March 2011. The all-time high was in February 2009 at 58.5 percent.
Short sales — transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property — made up an estimated 18.9 percent of the resale market last month. That was down from 20.4 percent the month before and up from 18.5 percent a year earlier.
Contact Rick Elkins at 784-5000, Ext. 1040, or follow him on Twitter @elkinsre.