SAN DIEGO (AP) — A real estate research firm says California home foreclosures plummeted to an eight-year low in the fourth quarter, thanks to rising home prices.

DataQuick said Tuesday that there were 18,120 default notices filed on houses and condominiums from October through December. That’s down 11 percent from the previous three-month period and down 53 percent from the same period of 2012.

It is the lowest number of default notices filed since the fourth quarter of 2005.

The median price for a California home was $364,000 in the fourth quarter, up 22 percent from a year earlier. It is the fifth straight quarter that the median has risen at least 20 percent from the previous year.

The price gains have left fewer homeowners owing more money than their properties are worth.

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