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Biz Buzz: County foreclosure activity still on the rise

Foreclosure activity has not abated in San Luis Obispo County, a signal that many homeowners here remain stressed.

Notices of default — the first step in the foreclosure process — increased 41 percent during the fourth quarter of 2009, compared to the same quarter the previous year, according to DataQuick Information Systems, a real estate information and tracking firm. A total of 436 notices of default were filed during the fourth quarter, up from 309 during the fourth quarter of 2008.

The number of houses and condominiums lost to foreclosure also increased during the fourth quarter. A total of 245 trustees deeds were recorded in the county in the final quarter of 2009, compared to 182 in the same period the previous year. That’s a nearly 35 percent jump from the fourth quarter of 2008.

Notice of default activity slowed somewhat from the third quarter of last year. A total of 539 notices of default were recorded in the third quarter of 2009, a nearly 46 percent increase from the same quarter in 2008, when 370 were recorded.

In the third quarter of 2009, a total 223 trustees deeds were recorded, a 10 percent decrease from the same quarter the previous year, when 248 were reported.

Statewide, notices of default declined 24.3 percent during the fourth quarter (October-December period) compared to the prior quarter, a sign that “the worst may be over in hard-hit entry-level markets, while slowly spreading to more expensive neighborhoods,” DataQuick reported.

Foreclosure activity in California continued to increase, however, during the fourth quarter last year, compared to the same quarter in 2008. A total of 84,568 notices of default were recorded in California in the final quarter of last year, an approximately 12.4 increase from fourth-quarter 2008, when 75,230 were recorded.

Trustees deeds were also on the rise, with 51,060 homes lost to foreclosure, an approximately 10.6 percent jump from the 46,183 recorded in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Mortgages were most likely to go into default in Merced, Stanislaus and Riverside counties. The counties least likely to see defaults were San Mateo, Marin and San Francisco.

So far, it may be too soon to tell what the outlook will be for the state this year.

“It’s unclear how much of the drop in mortgage defaults (Q4 09/Q3 08) is due to shifting market conditions, and how much is the result of changing foreclosure policies among lenders and loan servicers,’’ the firm reported.

— Julie Lynem

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Scott Beer of Morro Bay has been named district general agent for the Northern California/Nevada district of Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Co.

Beer has six years of experience in the insurance industry and is a member and past president of the Morro Bay Rotary Club.

— Julia Hickey

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