September 10th, 2009 4:46 PM by Lehel Szucs
By Kevin Smith Staff Writer
California's foreclosure rate dropped 32 percent in August, but the Golden State still boasted the nation's third highest reading, according to a report released today by RealtyTrac.
In California, 92,326 properties received a foreclosure filing in August - the highest overall total of any U.S. state. That equated to one home in every 144 housing units.
That was down 15 percent from July and off 9 percent from a year earlier.
Nevada reported the highest foreclosure rate for August - one in every 62 housing units, or 17,902 homes. That was down 8 percent from the previous month but up 53percent from a year earlier.
Florida's foreclosure rate ranked second highest, with one in every 140 homes receiving a filing.
Six states accounted for 62 percent of the nation's total foreclosure activity last month, despite decreasing REOs in all six states.
Foreclosure activity includes
foreclosure filings, default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions.
Locally, Realtors are reporting a mixed bag.
"More investors are buying up REO properties, but I don't see a lot of homeowners getting the best deals," said Ernesto Diaz, president of RE/MAX Empire in Montebello. "Credit is tight and FICO scores are a little lower than what lenders are requiring."
Dondi Adkins, a Realtor with Meuller Realty in San Gabriel, said she hasn't seen that many foreclosures there.
"We've actually been pretty steady here," she said. "But we're seeing more short sales. We're working on a lot of them ... but they're taking months. I've had one deal that's been going on for three months."
Other Realtors say banks are understaffed and unprepared to handle the increasing flow of short sale offers, which typically results in a slow response.
Adkins said her office tries to steer buyers away from short sales for that very reason.
"The $8,000 federal credit for first-time buyers will be up in November, so we're trying to get buyers into that before it ends," she said.
The Riverside-San Bernardino-
Ontario area boasted the fourth highest foreclosure rate among large U.S. metro areas,
RealtyTrac reported (one in 80).
Diaz said lenders have bundled some bank-owned properties together in an effort to unload them more quickly for investors to scoop up.
"That's what they are doing right now," he said. "We sold a couple of bundles like that. One was $20 million and another was $500 million with 3,000 homes."
More than 358,000 foreclosure-related filings were recorded in August, meaning one in 357 U.S. homes received a filing, RealtyTrac Inc. reported.
"The August report demonstrates that there is still an ample supply of properties filling the foreclosure pipeline," said James Saccacio, CEO of Irvine-based RealtyTrac.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.