Stockton ranks first in national foreclosure list

As Bay Area home sales stall, a new study says Stockton and Contra Costa County are leading the nation in foreclosures.

With one in 27 households foreclosing on a property, Stockton holds the regrettable title of foreclosure capital of the nation, according to a study released by RealtyTrac, an online service that tracks foreclosure sales.

The Bay Area isn’t far behind. In July, Contra Costa County ranked fifth in the U.S., with one in 166 households forced to foreclose. Alameda County ranked 14th and Sonoma County came in 21st. Napa County ranked 25th and Santa Clara ranked 27th.

San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties fared best in the Bay Area, coming in 51st, 41st, and 47th, respectively.

RealtyTrac spokesman Daren Blomquist said foreclosures are common in areas where people may have stretched themselves financially to take advantage of the hot real estate market of the last five years.

“They were on a very thin margin and anything affecting their monthly payment could push them into foreclosure very easily,” he said.

In August, local homes sold at the slowest pace in 15 years, according to a real estate information service.

A total of 7,299 new and resale houses and condos were sold in the nine-county Bay Area in August, analysts at DataQuick Information Services said Wednesday. That’s down 1.7 percent from 7,423 in July and down 24.9 percent from 9,713 a year ago.

Home sales have steadily decreased during the last 31 months, according to DataQuick. Sales last month were the lowest for the month of August since 1992.

DataQuick President Marshall Prentice said expensive Bay Area homes are often financed with jumbo mortgages.

Recent turbulence in the mortgage market has made securing that type of financing more difficult, which may account for sluggish sales.

The median price paid for a Bay Area home in August was $655,000 — down 1.5 percent from the June and July high of $665,000, but up 4 percent from a year ago. Prices were down in Solano, Sonoma and Napa counties and flat or up in other counties, according to DataQuick.

tbarak@examiner.com

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