Daly City foreclosure rate highest in county

Daly City’s large number of immigrants buying their firsthomes is driving up the rate of foreclosures in San Mateo County, according to housing experts.

Nearly 30 percent of the county’s homes taken back by lenders and put up for sale in February were in Daly City, according to an Examiner analysis of a recent report from foreclosureradar.com, a Web site that tracks foreclosure rates in California.

The Daly City figures come on the heels of another report from the site indicating that foreclosure auction sales have more than doubled in San Mateo County in February over a year earlier, though sales have slowed since January.

Realtors and county housing counselors said most Daly City homeowners facing foreclosures were immigrant buyers who have never owned a home before.

“They were much more susceptible to getting into loans that they didn’t understand,” said John Gieseker, a San Bruno broker with Prudential California Realty. “Immigrants have seen it as very important to own your own home because it’s a greater level of security, so they would push harder to buy something.”

Daly City, where immigrants make up 53 percent of the population, recently saw a larger number of first-time buyers with limited resources and riskier loans, Gieseker said. Almost all Daly City homeowners currently facing foreclosure are minorities — mostly Hispanic and Filipino, according to a report from DataQuick, a real estate research firm.

The city known as “the gateway to the Peninsula” also had twice as many foreclosed homes than San Mateo, a city of comparable size with a higher median income and a smaller immigrant population, according to DataQuick.

“Everybody wants to live here because of our proximity to San Francisco,” Councilmember Mike Guingona said. “We can’t punish those people for wanting a piece of the American dream — we should accommodate them.”

Local housing experts said some immigrants were not given enough information about the risk they were taking and others were specifically targeted by predatory lenders.

“People who have language barriers are likely to be affected by predatory lending practices and foreclosure rescue scams in more difficult and dramatic ways than other people,” said Ilene Jacobs, director of litigation at California Rural Legal Assistance, an organization that fights for fair housing practices. “They are easy targets.”

But Daly City’s troubles don’t seem to be going away anytime soon: While the number of notices of default decreased since January in San Mateo County, 64 Daly City homeowners received a notice of default last month, a slight increase from January’s rate.

Most foreclosures and default notices were concentrated around Mission Street, on the coast west of Skyline Boulevard and near King Drive at the city’s southern border.

svasilyuk@examiner.com

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