Orange County Foreclosure Listings Still Great for Buyers

by Peter Vernon on Foreclosures

Foreclosure listings in Orange County, California still provide great buying opportunities for investors and owner-occupant buyers despite the drop in the percentage of bank owned properties and other distressed properties on the market.

In the first two weeks of March, based on data from realtors in the county, distressed housing units accounted for 31.6 percent of all homes for sale in the county, a decrease from the 37-percent share in the first two weeks of March last year.

There were 2,814 distressed units for sale during the two-week period, and these included foreclosed homes, short sales and fixer upper houses for sale. The number was a sharp drop of 31.2 percent from the 4,092 distressed units during the same period last year, but the March number was still relatively high and was still a good number for prospective home buyers.

Local realtors reported that one of the reasons for the drop in the percentage of properties entering residential foreclosure listings in Orange County is the rising popularity of short sales. In the first two weeks of March, short sales dropped slightly, but the 2,396 units in short sale listings indicate the significant number of distressed homeowners intent on preventing foreclosure through short selling.

As the average number of days needed to sell a foreclosure property in Orange County plunged to a stunning 1.03 months, the average number of days to complete a short sale also dropped sharply to 1.67 months.

The significant drop in number of days to sell distressed residential units is one indication of a recovering market, according to local realtors.

In March and in the entire first quarter this year, California still leads the county in number of residential properties in foreclosure. Despite a year-over-year slowdown in foreclosure activity, the March foreclosure total was still higher than the previous month and the first quarter total was still higher than the previous quarter.

In the first quarter, there were 216,263 homeowners in California who received notices of default, trustee sale and bank repossession, the highest number posted by a state during the quarter. It included the 93,173 homeowners who defaulted or were foreclosed upon in March.

Of the 216,263 distressed properties in the first three months, 46,445 units entered bank owned foreclosure listings, equivalent to 21.48 percent of total foreclosure postings during the quarter. In March, a total of 16,892 units or 18.13 percent of total monthly filings entered bank owned listings.