Foreclosures, pre-foreclosures up in South Lake Tahoe, El Dorado County |

Foreclosures, pre-foreclosures up in South Lake Tahoe, El Dorado County

Wendy Schultz, The Mountain Democrat, Tahoe Daily Tribune
Published Caption: Reed Saxon/ Associated Press

As the volume of foreclosures grows daily, up 57 percent this January from January 2007, the foreclosures on homes in South Lake Tahoe and El Dorado County grow as well ” fortunately not as seriously as in other parts of California.

A search today by the Tahoe Daily Tribune has found that currently there are 206 homes in South Lake Tahoe that are either in active foreclosure or pre-foreclosure, according to In the past 30 days 24 homes have been foreclosed on, while 182 homes sit in pre-foreclosure.

On the West Slope as of the middle of February there were approximately 128 homes that have been foreclosed on, slightly fewer than reported on for the month of January, with El Dorado Hills and Placerville being the areas of highest concentration.

The new Economic Stimulus plan signed into law by President Bush on Feb. 13 includes a provision for raising the limit on the amount of insured single-family home loans from 87 percent to as much as 175 percent of the loan, depending on geographical area. For Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae conforming loans the limits would increase from $417,000 to $729,750. In less expensive markets the increase in loan limit will be less.

‘We’re looking at the plan and wondering if it will just delay relief to homeowners or really improve it,’ said Kathie DeBord, Board of Directors treasurer for the El Dorado County Association of Realtors. ‘Lenders in the past haven’t wanted to work with homeowners about loan payments, but I think it’s going to be a lot more user-friendly since there is an increasing amount of inventory on the books for the big seven lenders.’

DeBord said she thinks the new loan limits could give homeowners an opportunity to clean up their finances and encourage people to stay in their homes rather than to upgrade and move.

‘If people can refinance their homes and clean up existing second mortgages and consolidate their outstanding debt, they’ll tend to stay put and wait for things to settle. New buyers will have much bigger buying power because they’ll qualify for cheaper loans and more money,’ she said.

Her advice to people struggling to make payments is to talk to their lender and tell them the situation.

‘See if they will rewrite the loan. With the president’s initiation of new directives, they may be more open to working with you,’ said DeBord.

How the new loan limits will be implemented in El Dorado County depends on whether the county is lumped in with the greater Sacramento area market or in another market.

‘No one knows yet how it will be combined,’ said DeBord, ‘ but there is some urgency – this plan ends on Dec. 31, 2008. It will be a temporary solution but right now we’ll take anything we can.’

As for the million dollar-plus homes in Serrano in El Dorado Hills, DeBord said the highest number of homes ever sold in Serrano in a month was 10 and they are averaging selling two to four homes each month in Serrano now.

‘The outstanding inventory is about half of what it was because builders stopped building the spec homes and the custom homes are doing fine,’ she said.

The next two months are traditionally shopping months for home buyers, according to DeBord, with May typically being the biggest closing month of the year for El Dorado County.

‘I still think we’ll have a good spring,’ said DeBord.

” Tahoe Daily Tribune Web Editor Jeff Munson contributed to this report.

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