According to DataQuick, there were 49,026 default notices on residential properties from July through September. That number is down 31.2 percent from 71,275 the same period last year and down 63.8 percent from 135,431 in the first quarter of 2009.
This marks California's lowest number of default notices since there were 46,760 in the first quarter of 2007.
The numbers eased concern about the high number of distressed sales to slow the housing market's recovery. On the other hand, the dearth of foreclosures has meant slimmer pickings for buyers seeking to take advantage of low interest rates and an improving economy.
The most recent figures from the Mortgage Bankers Association show fewer Californians are falling behind on payments, a precursor to default notices. At the end of June, 6.38 percent of loans were at least one payment late, down from 8.12 percent a year earlier.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.