The number of California homeowners pushed into foreclosure last quarter fell to the lowest level in six years, according to San Diego-based market tracker DataQuick.
Officials pointed to rising home values, an improving economy and a shift toward short sales.
In the fourth quarter of 2012, lenders recorded 38,212 notices of default on California houses and condos, down 22 percent from 49,026 in the third quarter and a steep 38 percent from 61,517 in the fourth quarter of 2011.
The quarterly total was the lowest since 37,994 in the fourth quarter of 2006. DataQuick said new foreclosure filings peaked at 135,431 in the first quarter of 2009.
In Sacramento County, fourth quarter notices of default totaled 2,195, a 42 percent decline from 3,791 in 2011.
Other counties in the region seeing year-over-year declines included Placer (469 fourth-quarter notices, down 46 percent), Yolo (173, down 42 percent) and El Dorado (262, down 25 percent).
DataQuick said foreclosure resales - properties foreclosed on in the prior 12 months - varied significantly among California counties in last year's final by quarter - from 5 percent in San Francisco County to 31.4 percent in Sutter County.
Read more Thursday in The Sacramento Bee and at Sacbee.com.