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Riverside County foreclosures continue downward trend

Published On: Feb 14 2013 07:23:48 AM CST

Dovetailing with a statewide trend, Riverside County's  foreclosure activity dropped last month to levels not seen in years, a real  estate tracking firm reported today.  
      A total 1,718 mortgage default notices, auction sale notices and bank  repossessions were recorded countywide in January, translating to 1 in 462  households in some stage of foreclosure, according to Irvine-based RealtyTrac. 
      The number of filings was down 40 percent from December and 64 percent  lower compared to January 2012, figures showed.  
      According to RealtyTrac, the sharp decline in area foreclosures resulted  in Riverside County having the 12th highest foreclosure rate in the state --  marking the first time the county has been outside the top 10 since at least  the winter of 2007.
      Neighboring San Bernardino County ranked No. 9, with 1 in 449 households  in default.
      San Joaquin County was No. 1, with 1 in 277. The balance of the top 10  comprised counties concentrated in the northern half of the state.
      "The U.S. foreclosure landscape in January was profoundly altered by  the effects of new legislation that took effect in California on the first of  the year," said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac.
      "Dubbed the `Homeowners Bill of Rights,' this legislation extends many  of the principles in the national mortgage settlement -- including a  prohibition on so-called dual tracking and requiring a single point of contact  for borrowers facing foreclosure -- to all mortgage servicers operating in  California."
      "The new law imposes fines of up to $7,500 per loan for filing of  multiple unverified foreclosure documents," he added. "As a result, the  downward foreclosure trend in California accelerated into hyper-speed in  January, decisively shifting the balance of power when it comes to the nation's  foreclosure activity."
      Nationally, 150,864 properties slipped into foreclosure in the first  month of the year, according to RealtyTrac. The activity represented a 7  percent drop from December and a 28 percent decline from January 2012.   
      California ranked No. 8 in U.S. foreclosure activity last month, with  18,093 properties going into default, or 1 in 753, according to RealtyTrac. The  figure was 39 percent below the number of filings in December and 65 percent  less than a year ago.
      Florida had the highest foreclosure rate nationwide, with 1 in 300  households in