Mortgage defaults and foreclosure activity decreased in California from April to May, according to ForeclosureRadar, which tracks filings across the state. Notices of default fell 17% from April to May, and 43% from May 2009. Notices of trustee sale dropped 11% in May and decreased 35% from last year. Past foreclosures, the amount of properties banks repossessed, dropped 5% in May and 13% from a year ago. “I would love to say [the decrease] was due to short sales or loan modifications, but I see little evidence from residential home sales, or HAMP reports to support that theory. The question we should all be asking is, if it is not by foreclosure, short sale or loan mod, then how do lenders plan to deal with delinquent loans?”  Sean O’Toole, CEO of ForeclosureRadar. “Increasingly seems that they, and the regulators that in the past have forced the liquidation of non-performing assets, are simply waiting and wishing for a return to peak prices reached during the bubble.” The amount of real-estate owned (REO) inventory fell, too. REO properties dropped 2% from April and 18% from a year ago. Homes in pre-foreclosure fell 5% from last month and 17% from last year. The time it took to foreclose on a property dropped slightly to an average of 235 days from 239 in April. O’Toole said the most telling statistic in May is that it now takes an extra two months for banks to foreclose on a home compared to a year ago, when the process averaged 180 days. The average amount of time it took banks to resell a property after foreclosure grew to 252 days in May from 247 in April. Write to Jon Prior.

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