California Cities Rank Highest in Foreclosures

FILE - In this file photograph taken Feb. 23, 2009, a foreclosure sign blows in the wind in front of a home under foreclosure
FILE - In this file photograph taken Feb. 23, 2009, a foreclosure sign blows in the wind in front of a home under foreclosure in Antioch, Calif. More than 1.5 million older Americans already have lost their homes, with millions more at risk as the national housing crisis takes its toll on those who are among the worst positioned to weather the storm, a new AARP report says. Older African Americans and Hispanics are the hardest hit. "The Great Recession has been brutal for many older Americans," said Debra Whitman, AARP's policy chief. "This shows that home ownership doesn't guarantee financial security later in life." (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

July foreclosure data reveals that California ranks highest in foreclosure in the nation. Riverside, California, ranks second highest among U.S. cities, topped only by Stockton, California, which is ranked number one.

These figures, released by RealtyTrac, an Irvine, CA, company that tracks foreclosures nationwide, reveal that while foreclosures have declined from this time last year, California homeowners are still experiencing a disproportionately high number of foreclosures. With foreclosures declining by 11 percent from June, 2012, there were still 19,210 new notices of default recorded during July. One out of every 325 California homeowners received foreclosure notices, twice the national average.

Riverside and San Bernardino counties saw an 18% decline in foreclosures from July, 2011, but it still wasn't enough to keep them from ranking at the top of the national foreclosure list. In July, 2012, the two counties reported 8,012 foreclosure filings. Currently, one out of every 187 homes in the two counties are somewhere in the foreclosure process. On a national level, one of every 686 homes received a notice of default.

Even with an evident decline from last year and declines from June to July of this year, Riverside has a startling high ranking. While there has been some improvement, it's also evidence that the situation has been critical for some time. With a high number of default notices in comparison to other metropolitan areas, it doesn't appear that any significant change in Riverside's status will happen in the very near future.

A lack of jobs and long-term unemployment is being blamed for California's top foreclosure ranking. Although declines have been seen, they haven't been enough to knock Riverside and six other California cities from the top ten foreclosure list. It's also speculated that those declines may be coming to an end. Lenders who may have halted foreclosure filings while waiting for details of the $25 billion dollar settlement between states and banks have now received and are implementing the guidelines in the settlement. This can lead to an increase in foreclosure filings as mortgage servicers rush to remove a backlog of foreclosure filings.

Government officials within California and its jurisdictions are currently proposing legislature in an effort to help Riverside and other cities reduce foreclosures. Among those proposals is one that adopts the terms and guidelines of the $25 billion dollar settlement between five major lenders and the states and applies them to all banks within the state of California. If adopted, these measures offer alternatives to avoid foreclosure, like loan modifications and principal reductions, to homeowners who are struggling to make their monthly mortgage payment and meet the guidelines for qualifying.

Anna Cuevas, ex-bank executive turned homeowner advocate known as "America's Loan Modification Guru," has empowered and guided thousands of Americans in keeping their homes from foreclosure through loan modification self-advocacy. A popular blogger (, Cuevas has been called a "superhero of the loan modification industry" and has been nominated for CNN's Heroes. She is the #1 bestselling author of Save Your Home Without Losing Your Mind or Money.