By City News Service
The number of San Diego County homes slipping toward foreclosure dropped by 24.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, compared to the same period the prior year, a real estate information service reported Tuesday.
Lenders sent default notices to 4,917 homeowners in San Diego County in the fourth quarter, down from the previous year's fourth-quarter total of 6,536, according to La Jolla-based MDA DataQuick.
Statewide, default notices were sent to 69,799 homeowners in the fourth quarter of the year, DataQuick reported. That was a 16.2 percent drop from the previous quarter's 83,261 notices and down 17.5 percent from the same quarter in 2009, when 84,568 default notices were sent.
"We don't know how much of the decline is due to less household financial distress, and how much is due to shifts in lender and servicer foreclosure policies," John Walsh, MDA DataQuick president, said. "The level of default activity would certainly be higher if it weren't for alternative strategies such as short sales, or even lengthening grace periods."
Default notices do not always lead to a home foreclosure, according to DataQuick. Between January 2008 and June 2009, about 46 percent of homeowners who received notices actually had their homes foreclosed on, DataQuick reported. Some homeowners emerge from the foreclosure process by bringing their payments current, refinancing or selling the home.