California foreclosure starts hit 8-year low in 4Q

In the last three months of 2013, foreclosure starts in California hit their lowest level since the height of the housing boom in 2005, according to real estate information service DataQuick.

Lenders and servicers recorded a 52.6 percent year-over-year drop in notices of default issued to California homeowners in the fourth quarter, to 18,120. Default notices in the Golden State peaked in first-quarter 2009 at 135,431 — 7.5 times last quarter’s eight-year low.

DataQuick attributed the decrease to an improving economy, foreclosure prevention efforts and higher home prices. The latter allow struggling borrowers to sell their home and pay off what they owe and also provide an incentive to underwater borrowers who might otherwise give up their homes, the service said.

Source: DataQuick