It's a new day in California -- or at least one that hasn't been seen in four years: the foreclosure crisis is lessening.
Economists aren't saying that the home-loss crisis is over, and plenty of California homeowners are surely still underwater on their mortgages. Still, the number of California homes that fell into foreclosure hit a four-year low in the spring, according to the Bay Citizen, which provides at least the optimists among us some hope for a real economic recovery.
The figures were released Tuesday by DataQuick, a San Diego-based real estate consulting firm, according to the news web site. The figures revealed a "year-by-year" decline in foreclosures in all nine Bay Area counties. Foreclosures are down 7.9 percent in the Bay Area, but have not dropped as steeply in Marin and Sonoma counties, according to the Bay Citizen.
However, steady unemployment figures and a "flooded" housing market full of bank-foreclosed properties are both signs that the economy is nowhere near it was at the housing bubble's peak, since when homes in the Bay Area have lost on average 40 percent of their value, the Bay Citizen reported.
Some foreclosures have also been halted thanks to political pressure, according to Preeti Vissa, a director at Berkeley-based Greenlining Institute. The country's biggest banks and lenders have been sued by attorneys general in all 50 states, and many banks have issued moratoriums on foreclosures, the Bay Citizen reported.