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RISMEDIA, June 18, 2009-ForeclosureRadar, a website that tracks every California foreclosure, and provides daily auction updates, issued its monthly California Foreclosure Report for May 2009. Foreclosures sales jumped 31.9% in May, following a 35% increase the prior month. Notices of Trustee Sale, which set the auction date and time, also rose a significant 42% from April, indicating that foreclosure sales are likely to continue to rise in the weeks and months ahead. Despite these increases, and a record number of foreclosures scheduled for auction, lenders continue to voluntarily postpone the majority of foreclosure sales.

High-level findings for May 2009 include:

– Notices of Default, which are the first step in the foreclosure process, fell 4.2% from April to 40,870 filings. Year-over-year filings were down 3.1% from May of 2008.
– Notices of Trustee Sale filings reached a new record level in May with 41,959 filings, representing an increase of 42% from April. Filings were 24.1% higher than a year earlier, and 7.6% higher than the previous record set in July of 2008.
– Foreclosures taken to sale at auction reached 17,871, a 31.9% increase from the prior month, but 30% lower than a year earlier. Though loan values represented a total of $8.01 Billion in May, 83% of the sales were taken to auction with a discounted opening bid that averaged just 58.6% of the loan value.
– The majority of foreclosure sales continue to be taken back by the lender, with 87.9%, or 15,599 sales, with a total loan value of $6.98 Billion, taken back by the lender in May.
– Third party foreclosure auction sales continued to increase substantially to a total of 2,272, an increase of 39% from the prior month, and a significant 228.3% increase from May 2008. More than half of third party sales occurred in just five counties: Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, Riverside and Sacramento.

“While many complain that lenders are foreclosing too aggressively, and others claim a wave of foreclosures sales is imminent, the data actually shows that lenders are doing everything possible to delay foreclosure,” says Sean O’Toole, founder and CEO of ForeclosureRadar. “The reality is that we have very few homeowners being foreclosed on when viewed as a percentage of those scheduled to be foreclosed on, in default, delinquent, or upside down in their mortgage.”

According to the company, ForeclosureRadar is uniquely able to see not only how many foreclosures were initiated, but also the current status of those foreclosures and their ultimate outcomes, whether postponed, cancelled or sold. By the end of May we had a record 111,824 foreclosures scheduled for sale, yet just 15.9% were actually sold, versus 49.2% of scheduled foreclosures being sold a year earlier. Further, when sales peaked in July 2008 at levels 61% higher than those reached in May 2009, there were only 64,598 foreclosures scheduled for sale, 42.2% fewer than today.

Of those foreclosures currently scheduled, 40% are being postponed to a future date at the lenders request, and another 33% are being postponed based on the mutual agreement of lender and borrower, clearly demonstrating that lenders are indeed delaying foreclosure in the majority of cases on their own accord. Specifically note that lenders were under no obligation in May to offer a loan modification program, short sale, or other resolution, and that these efforts would have resulted in a cancellation of the sale rather than a postponement. May saw just 6% of scheduled foreclosures cancelled, the lowest percentage of cancellations we have on record.

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