In another sign of the strong housing market, the number of Orange County homeowners falling into foreclosure declined for the seventh consecutive quarter. Foreclosure proceedings in the second quarter tumbled 30% to 1,703 from 2,463 a year ago, said John Karevoll, an analyst at Acxiom/Dataquick Information Systems, a real estate information firm.
When the streak began during the first three months of 1996, there were 4,486 homes in the process of being foreclosed, more than twice the number now. But with rising prices--the median home price in Orange County is at an all-time high of $236,000--more people can sell their homes, pay off their mortgages and still have something left over.
The same pattern exists statewide. During the April-June period, lenders began foreclosure proceedings on 30,873 homes, down 12.4% from 35,247 a year ago.
Orange and San Diego counties showed the steepest drops in foreclosures. Foreclosures in Orange County could fall below 1,000 early next year, Karevoll said, but he expects the number to level off after that. People find themselves entering legal proceedings as a result of divorces or losing their jobs even in the best of times, he noted.