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Foreclosure Activity Falls In San Diego

— More than 61,000 California homeowners got notices of default in the final three months of the year. That's down nearly 12 percent from the same time a year ago. The notice is the beginning of the foreclosure process after a homeowner has missed several payments. It does not always lead to a foreclosure.

San Diego-based DataQuick tracks the housing market around the nation. The company said the number of California homes entering the foreclosure process declined and many of the homeowners encountering problems took out mortgages at the height of the housing boom.

"Many of them originated back in 2005 through 2007 time frame. And middle to late 2006 was a special period with an incredibly high percentage of loans originated then," said Andrew LaPage of DataQuick.

Foreclosure activity could surge again in the first quarter of this year. But LaPage said that for now, the housing market is showing signs the situation is improving.

"We're not through this yet. We think the worst is over, baring some shock to the system, but we're still going to be running well above average of normal levels of foreclosure activity for the next year or two," said LaPage.

About a third of all housing transactions involve foreclosed properties and LaPage said when the number goes down to about 10 percent the market will be much healthier.

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