Foreclosures in Rocklin, county way up in 2008

By: Nathan Donato-Weinstein and Lauren Weber, Gold Country News Service
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Placer County’s foreclosure rate continued to gain steam in 2008, according to a year-end analysis of government records. And experts say to expect more of the same in 2009. The number of foreclosures in the just-ended period was up more than 110 percent from a year ago, with 2,552 residential properties being taken over, compared to 1,193. By comparison, in 2006 just 289 foreclosures were filed with the county, according to records provided by the Placer County Assessor’s Office. That’s a two-year increase of 772 percent. Homes in all segments of the market – from “starter” homes to area mansions – showed up on county default rolls last year en masse, ex-perts say. “It’s pretty much going after all of them,” said Ben Herb, president of the Placer Coun-ty Associa-tion of Real-tors. “Even the houses that are a million-plus have been going into foreclosure.” Records don’t list why homeowners lost their properties, shrouding the lives behind the numbers. Experts say the reasons vary, and include poor financial decision-making, loans that reset at higher rates and job losses. Charles Sayles sees the stories first hand as a loan modification specialist for Capital Investment Group in Rocklin. Homeowners are often desperate when they come to him looking for some way of staying in their house, usually by working out a new payment plan from lenders. “Most people are upset, they’re losing their house,” Sayles said. “They’re in tears. The majority of people do care about their house.” With a quick search of foreclosure properties in Rocklin, Multiple Listing Service came back with 209 current foreclosures in the 95677 ZIP code and 293 foreclosures in the 95765 ZIP code neighborhoods. Realtor J. Scott Carpenter with Carpenter Properties in Rocklin said he has seen the housing market ups and downs. Recently, Carpenter said foreclosures in the area are dwindling. “The number of foreclosures have slowed in the last few months,” he said. “Rocklin has come through this quite well.” For 2008, Rocklin saw the peak of foreclosed homes in July, with a steady decline in December, Carpenter said. Typically the least-desirable cities and areas are hit hardest with foreclosures, Carpenter said. “Rocklin is a pretty desirable place to live,” he said. “It held up pretty well.” Yet some neighborhoods weren’t as lucky as others. Areas like the gated estates of Whitney Oaks and custom homes in Rocklin took a spill. Houses up above $650,000 and $700,000 have been difficult to sell, Carpenter said. A house off of Clubhouse Drive in Rocklin currently sits on the market for $850,000, overlooking the golf course. The sales history says the more than 5,000 square-feet, five-bedroom home sold for $1.5 million in March 2006. Later that year, it sold again for almost $1.4 million. But Carpenter says there are indications that the market may improve with home prices flattening, making the market more stable. “All of the indications are that the number of listings are going down,” he said. With improving interest rates, “we expect that that’s going to create more demand,” he said.