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Foreclosure rates continue to rise

More than 17,000 Northern San Joaquin Valley homes have been lost to foreclosure during the past year, cumulative data released today show.

The number of homes repossessed by lenders continues to skyrocket throughout Merced, Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties, according to DataQuick Information Systems.

This April, May and June, for instance, 1,223 homes were foreclosed on in Merced County, pushing the one-year total to 3,174.

2,207 homes were foreclosed on in Stanislaus, pushing the county's one-year total to 5,554.

In San Joaquin, 3,185 homeowners lost property to foreclosure this spring, pushing its one-year total to 8,366.

California lost 63,031 homes to foreclosure this spring and 166,087 during the past year.

Northern San Joaquin Valley homes were nearly three times more likely to have been foreclosed on than houses elsewhere in California during the past year.

The foreclosure crisis isn't likely to end soon since the number of "notices of default" — the first legal step in the foreclosure process — set records this spring in Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced.

It takes at least four months after the notice of default before a home is foreclosed on, and often that process takes more than six months. So the record number of defaults this spring suggests new foreclosure records will be set again this fall.