The number of Los Angeles County homeowners going into foreclosure in April was at its lowest point since September 1995, according to a report released last week.

In April, lenders filed 3,466 notices of default on single family residences and condos, which was down five percent from 3,638 in March and down 35.6 percent from the 4,974 recorded in April of last year.

Moreover, it was the lowest number since September 1995, when 3,371 default notices were filed. The peak was March of last year, when 5,005 defaults were filed.

“Los Angeles is now seeing rises in prices for houses,” said John Karevoll, financial editor of Acxiom/DataQuick Information Systems, which provided the statistics. “These are not large increases but enough to staunch the growth of people going into foreclosure.”

A notice of default is the first step of the formal foreclosure process. Foreclosures are a “lagging indicator of financial stress,” said Karevoll, because it can take several months of missed mortgage payments and bank action for one to come about.

As such, Karevoll said that with the county’s economy improving, the number of foreclosures should continue to decline, perhaps down to about 2,500 per month by the end of the year.

The Palmdale/Lancaster area, which Karevoll pointed to as still awaiting an upturn from the real estate turmoil earlier this decade, is the only area of the County where the rate of foreclosures may continue to rise before they drop, he said.

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