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September’s foreclosure numbers are out, and according to ForeclosureRadar the trend of decreasing foreclosure activity continues, despite speculation that the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, which takes effect January 1, would encourage lenders to push as many delinquent loans through the foreclosure process as possible before falling under the new regulations.

The Bill of Rights includes such consumer protections as a requirement for lenders to be able to prove they own a loan and have the right to foreclose before conducting a trustee sale, providing borrowers with a single point of contact at the bank with which to negotiate alternatives, and a ban on the common practice of “dual tracking,” where a borrower may be applying for a loan modification or a short sale through a bank’s loss mitigation arm while the foreclosure department simultaneously acts to sell the property.

Despite the number of trustee sales, which conclude the foreclosure process, being down 10% statewide over the last year and relatively comparable to August, San Diego County has seen a spike of 12% over the last year and 23% from August, with scheduled foreclosure sales in September totaling 1,345, as compared to 1,090 last month and 1,197 a year ago.

While more properties are going to sale, fewer are ending up in the hands of lenders, as cash-rich speculators snatch up more of the properties. The end result is a tightening inventory of homes for sale, especially entry-level properties suitable for first-time buyers who have been on the sidelines during the down market of the late 2000s and early 2010s but have recently been lured back into the market, only to find fierce competition for the limited inventory, causing bidding wars and, for the first time in recent memory, sustained increases in home prices.

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