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California Foreclosure Notices Hit 8-Year Low

— The number of homes entering the foreclosure process hit an eight-year low in California in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Photo credit: Sean Drellinger

More than 13 percent of California homes remain underwater, which is when home's value is less than the amount owed on the mortgage.

Rising home values and the receding hangover from the sub-prime loan debacle get the credit for the falling number of default notices.

Only 18,120 of them were filed in the fourth quarter and that's down 52 percent from a year earlier. A default notice is the first step in a long process that can end in foreclosure.

DataQuick tracks the California real estate market and the firm's Andrew LePage said the housing market finally is approaching normal levels.

"We continue to mop up an old problem that stems back from a period, particularly from 2004 to 2007 when there were really a lot of risky loans made," LePage said. "And to some extend we're still paying a price for that."

Only 8,205 homes were foreclosed on last quarter. Foreclosures peaked at 79,511 in the third quarter of 2008.

Meanwhile, 13.3 percent of California homes remain underwater, which is when house's value is less than the amount owed on the mortgage.

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