Foreclosure filings in California dropped in April for the first time since the beginning of the year, according to ForeclosureRadar, which tracks the filings. Notices of default dropped 16% from March, after rising 3.75% from February. Default notices also increased 41% from last year, reaching 27,832 in April. The notices of trustee sale declined 10% from March to 30,578 in April. The amount of properties heading back to the bank as REO dropped 5.5% from March but stayed 19% above levels seen last year. But the inventory of properties in pre-foreclosure or scheduled for sale did not drop as much. Pre-foreclosure inventory includes properties that have received a notice of default but have not been scheduled for sale. Pre-foreclosures dropped 3.17% from March, while the properties scheduled for sale dropped 2.7%. Foreclosure cancellations, however, continue to increase after passing REO levels in December 2009. Cancellations increased another 11% in April, a sign that foreclosure alternative programs such as the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program could be making a dent in California. “The steady rise in cancellations leads us to believe that loan modifications and short sales are gaining traction” said Sean O’Toole, founder and CEO of “I’d caution, however, that cancellations also occur due to filing errors and extended postponements, which require the notice of trustee sale to be re-filed. In fact, 14.6 percent of new notice of trustee filings in April were on previously canceled foreclosures.” Write to Jon Prior.

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