Santa Clara and Bay Area homes see big increase in foreclosure cancellations

The number of foreclosure auction cancellations in the California and the Bay Area - and specifically in Santa Clara - has increased substantially in recent months, according to the Contra Costa Times. This could portend a strong rebound for the market for homes for sale in Santa Clara, as both homeowners and home sellers have noticed a positive trend and are looking to take advantage of it.

The news source reports that cancellations of foreclosure auctions jumped by 60 percent in the state from September to October, with a similar rate when localized to the Bay Area only. This would represent the biggest month-on-month jump in such cancellations since they were first tracked in 2006. Specifically, Santa Clara County reported 517 foreclosure auctions being cancelled in October, representing a substantial 63 percent increase from the number of such cancellations in September. Those were among the highest regional rates in the state. To compare, Contra Costa County featured 548 cancellations, or a 60 percent increase. Alameda County noted 576 foreclosure cancellations for a 52 percent increase rate, while San Mateo County saw 209 foreclosures cancelled for a 50 percent increase from the previous month.

Foreclosure cancellations are typically attributed to a variety of different possible factors. For instance, a successful loan modification or short sale could lead to the auction being cancelled at the last minute. Additionally, the news source reports that filing errors by the banks or rules requiring lenders to re-file a notice of sale after extended postponements could lead to cancellations as well.

Another possible reason could be the tough Homeowner Bill of Rights that is set to take effect in the state at the start of 2013. According to the news source, this would ban the practice of dual tracking - holding out in pursuit of a possible loan modification to struggling homeowners before foreclosing without warning.

"Fewer homes are in trouble," Joe Reichert, a local real estate agent, told the news source. "There's a mentality of 'I'm almost over the hump, and if I hold on a bit longer, values will come up.'"

It appears that the early returns on the foreclosure auctions - coupled with the impending Homeowner Bill of Rights - has led to strong returns for the overall Bay Area real estate market. According to the Contra Costa Times, there were close to 8,000 sales of all types of homes in the nine-county Bay Area - which includes Santa Clara County - in October. Additionally, home sales increased by nearly 21 percent from the same time period a year ago, continuing a streak of 16 consecutive months of comparable improvements.

Middle- and high-end homes in particular appeared to be gaining strength on the real estate market, especially in Santa Clara. The news source reports that there were 50 homes sold for $2 million or more in Santa Clara County in October. This would be the most for an October in the county since records were first kept in 1988. The median price for a single family home in the county stood at $619,750 in October, nearly 20 percent from the same time period a year ago. Sales for all types of homes costing more than $800,000 increased by more than 42 percent from the previous October, indicating not only more interested homeowners in the region, but also more affluent ones.