Foreclosure sales in Murrieta and Riverside County as a whole continued their double-digit slide last month, reflecting a general decline in auctions statewide, according to a real estate tracking firm.
Bay Area-based ForeclosureRadar.com's monthly "Foreclosure Report" showed 873 repossessed properties were sold countywide in March, compared with 1,157 in February—a 24 percent dip. That followed a 19-percent drop between January and February.
There were 34 repossessed Murrieta properties sold in March, down from 73 in February—a 53-percent drop.
Forty-one foreclosed homes were sold in Temecula in March, down from 58 in February for a 29-percent dip.
The county's foreclosure sales were down 58 percent from a year ago, when 2,103 homes ended up on the auction block.
Murrieta's foreclosure sales were down 70 percent from March a year ago. In March 2011, 115 repossessed properties were sold.
Temecula saw a 61-percent drop in foreclosure sales from last March.
In California, sales of distressed properties sank 16 percent in March, and compared to a year ago, were down 53 percent.
ForeclosureRadar.com founder Sean O'Toole said that even though "far too many homeowners" are in default on their loans, banks are unlikely to step up evictions.
"To reach the conclusion that there will be a 'wave' of foreclosures, you have to assume that the banks either want to foreclose—they don't—or will be forced to foreclose—they won't," O'Toole said.
"In September 2008 the rules of the game were changed to help the banks remain solvent, and since then it has been in their best interest to find reasons to delay foreclosures through whatever means necessary. I don't see that changing anytime soon."
Riverside County was still listed among the top counties in the state for foreclosures, and Murrieta and Temecula were among the top in the county, according to the website.
—Maggie Avants contributed to this report.