La Jolla firm reports increase in default notices for quarter

The number of San Diego County homes slipping toward foreclosure increased by 23.2 percent in the third quarter of the year, compared to the same period in 2008, a real estate information service reported Tuesday.

Lenders sent default notices to 8,702 homeowners in San Diego County in the third quarter, up from the previous year’s third-quarter total of 7,062, according to La Jolla-based MDA DataQuick.

Statewide, default notices were sent to 111,689 homeowners in the third quarter of the year, DataQuick reported. That was a 10.3 percent decrease from the previous quarter’s 124,562 notices and up 18.5 percent from the same quarter in 2008, when 94,240 default notices were sent.

“It may well be that lenders have intentionally slowed down the pace of formal foreclosure proceedings,” said John Walsh, president of MDA DataQuick. “If so, it’s not out of the goodness of their hearts. It’s because they’ve concluded that flooding the market with cheap foreclosures in this economic environment may not be in their best financial interest.

“Trying to keep motivated, employed homeowners in their homes might be the most cost-efficient way to stem losses,” he said.

Default notices do not always lead to a home foreclosure, according to DataQuick. Some homeowners emerge from the foreclosure process by bringing their payments current, refinancing or selling the home.