Foreclosure activity in California stayed flat at a low level during the first quarter of this year, the result of robust home sales and strong appreciation rates, according to DataQuick Information Systems. Lending institutions started foreclosure proceedings on 15,031 homeowners during the January-to-March period. That was up 0.2 percent from 14,955 for the prior three months, and down 25 percent from 20,035 for last year's first quarter, DataQuick reported. Fourth-quarter 2003 activity was the lowest in DataQuick's statistics, while last quarter was the second lowest. DataQuick began collecting default data in 1992. "There's always going to be some default activity and we're probably as low as we can go right now. With appreciation rates as high as they are now, homeowners who get into financial trouble can sell, pay off what they owe, and walk away with some money. Default rates will start increasing again when appreciation levels off," said Marshall Prentice, DataQuick president...
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