Rising home values, a rebounding economy and government support are all being credited for a significant drop in the number of homeowners entering the foreclosure process in Santa Cruz County, according to a real estate information service.
Notices of default for houses and condos in Santa Cruz County plunged 56.2 percent between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of this year. The drop between Q1 last year and Q1 this year was 65.5 percent, according to DataQuick, a San Digeo-based company that monitors real estate trends.
Though the decline in foreclosures in the county wasn't quite as dramatic, it's still noteworthy. There was a 25.3 percent drop from the end of 2012 to the beginning of 2013 and a 51.9 percent decline between the first quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of this year, according to figures released by DataQuick at the end of April.
Scroll over the graphic above to see specific numbers for each quarter.
Statewide, both notices of loan defaults and the number of trustee deeds recorded—that's the finalized loss of a home in the formal foreclosure process—declined to the lowest levels in seven years, according to DataQuick.
Among the state's larger counties, loans were least likely to go into default last quarter in San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Marin counties, based on an analysis of how many NoDs were filed for every 1,000 homes in existence.
Most of the loans going into default are still from the 2005-2007 period.
"Foreclosure starts were already trending much lower late last year because of rising home prices, a stronger labor market and the settlement agreement between the government and some lenders," said John Walsh, DataQuick president. "But it appears last quarter's drop was especially sharp because of a package of new state foreclosure laws—the 'Homeowner Bill of Rights'—that took effect Jan. 1."
California's new regulations on how banks conduct foreclosures, backed by Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, came from a $25-billion national mortgage settlement signed in 2012, according to the LA Times.