Some may have had a rough winter as far as weather is concerned, but San Diego has turned up the heat this winter in their housing market. After an uneventful autumn, San Diego County’s housing market returned with vigorous price appreciation this January, showing its biggest gain for that month since 2004. At least from a seller’s perspective, San Diego showed the nation’s most improved year-over-year performance. This January’s average was 19.4 % higher than in 2013 and up from 18 % in December.

Then more good news came in February, showing large growth in annual home price appreciation. This positive turn has continued to help keep the number of foreclosures in San Diego County at pre-Great Recession levels, which is great news for everyone. Real estate tracker DataQuick, showed that this February banks repossessed 141 properties in the San Diego county, a decline from January and down 44% from the 252 foreclosures in February of 2013.

February’s number of foreclosures is also the lowest for that given month since 2006, when there were 40 properties taken back by banks during the housing bubble that led to the recession. This is also a major improvement from the 1,316 foreclosures in San Diego county in February 2008, during the hub of the economic downturn.

As we know, the thing with foreclosures is that they occur when there is no equity. Foreclosures typically occur when people are in over their head on their mortgages. Fortunately, most people no longer face such a situation because their home values recovered significantly in 2013. In February, median values were still up annually by 14.2%, to $416,000.

This has given people a key alternative in the unfortunate case that they lose their jobs and can’t make mortgage payments and receive a notice of default, which then triggers the 90- day foreclosure process. They could have the option to sell their property and maybe even make some cash from the sale now.

Furthermore, default notices fell to 442 in February, down from 551 the previous year and the lowest for a February since 2005 when 290 were filed. The highest default notices for a given February peaked at 3,471 in 2009.

All in all, the San Diego housing market is only going to get hotter with these positive changes.

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