California foreclosures lowest since early 2007.

Position:Briefing Book

La Jolla, California-based DataQuick announced that in this year's third quarter, the total notices of default (NOD) recorded hit 49,026 in the state of California. That number was the lowest since 46,760 were recorded in first-quarter 2007, the company reported.

Notices of default peaked in the first quarter of 2009 at 135,431, according to DataQuick.

DataQuick attributed the improvement to an uptick in short sales, a stronger economy and better housing market conditions in the state.

"During the past year, we've seen short sales overtake the foreclosure process as the procedure of choice to deal with homeowner distress. That may change after New Year's because the temporary debt-forgiveness feature in the tax code is set to expire as part of the so-called fiscal cliff," said John Walsh, DataQuick's president.

Short sales made up an estimated 26 percent of statewide resale activity in the third quarter. That was up from an estimated 24 percent in the prior quarter and up from 22.9 percent of all resales a year earlier, the company reported.

Notices of default fell in the third quarter across all home-price brackets. But DataQuick reported that mortgage defaults remained concentrated in California's lower-priced...

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