Notices of default filings — which mark the beginning of a home foreclosure process — fell 61.8 percent in September compared to August and fell 36.4 percent compared to the same month last year in California, reports data company ForeclosureRadar.com.

The company reported that California’s Senate Bill 1137 — which seeks to reduce foreclosures in the state by requiring lenders to reach out to homeowners prior to initiating foreclosure proceedings and requiring a waiting period, among other provisions — had a chilling effect on foreclosures in the state in September.

But that could be short-lived, said Sean O’Toole, ForeclosureRadar.com founder, in a statement. "We expect SB 1137 to have no long-term impact beyond delaying the foreclosure process for homeowners and slowing the overall recovery.

"What is important to watch is how quickly lenders and trustees adjust to the new law."

Notices of trustee sale, which are filed in preparation for the public auction of a property, declined 47.3 percent compared to August and grew 33.9 percent compared to September 2007.

The volume of California properties taken to sale at auction rose 163.2 percent in September compared to September 2007, and totaled 23,409 sales with a combined loan balance of $9.75 billion. Lenders took back 95 percent of these properties, with a combined loan value of $9.19 billion, ForeclosureRadar reported.

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