New foreclosure actions dropped to 18,567 in the first quarter, a 51.4 percent drop from the fourth quarter of 2012 and a 67 percent drop from January through March in 2012, the Los Angles Times reported Tuesday.
"It appears last quarter's drop was especially sharp because of a package of new state foreclosure laws -- the 'Homeowners Bill of Rights' -- that took effect Jan. 1," said DataQuick President John Walsh.
"Default notices fell off a cliff in January, then edged up," Walsh said in a statement.
The number of homes seized by banks also fell sharply. The total number of homes seized by lenders fell 35.7 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012 and 55.1 percent from the first quarter of 2012.
Walsh said that after a period of adjustment, lenders would figure out the new laws and foreclosures would climb again.
DataQuick said. affluent counties, like Santa Clara and Marin counties, had the lower rates of default, while Riverside, San Bernardino, Solano and San Joaquin counties had higher rates in the first quarter.