This summer, we found that this street in Chula Vista, in the Hillsborough neighborhood of Otay Ranch, illustrated the county’s trouble with declining home values and foreclosure. The street, Little Lake Street, has 43 homes on it. In August, at least a dozen were in foreclosure or had listed their homes for sale at a loss.

Since August, a few more homeowners have fallen into default or foreclosure, or have listed their homes on the market. At least three more homes have received notices of default — the first stage of foreclosure — and another two have been repossessed by the lenders, according to RealtyTrac records.

This one, for example, wasn’t in trouble yet when we visited the street: 1431 Little Lake St. According to the loan history from RealtyTrac, the homeowner purchased the home for $531,000 in Oct. 2004, and financed the purchase 94 percent.

The history shows the owner refinanced in March 2005, to a $504,000 total ($4,000 more than the original mortgage.) And then he borrowed a $74,000 line of credit in Sept. 2005, the records show.

Now, he’s received a notice of default. The home is listed on the market for $420,000, presumably a short sale, since that’s a 21 percent price decline from the purchase price, not to mention the line of credit.

Here’s another example of the mood on Little Lake. A lender-owned home at 1330 Little Lake St. has been listed for re-sale since July. And the lender’s anxious to sell: check out these price reductions:

Price Reduced: 08/28/07 — $529,900 to $499,900
Price Reduced: 09/29/07 — $499,900 to $474,900
Price Reduced: 10/23/07 — $474,900 to $459,900

Here’s another one. 1413 Little Lake was listed by the lender for sale when we checked in August. But that list price has dropped to a $399-$429,000 range. The house was financed 100 percent in March 2005 for $600,000.

I know you can figure it out, but that’s a $201,000 — one-third — price reduction so far.

It looks like the homeowner I talked to on the street, Keith Vincent at 1436, has so far been able to weather the storm. Here’s a bit of what he said then:

On a hot August afternoon recently, Little Lake homeowner Keith Vincent glanced grimly down the street where a half-dozen wooden real estate signs stick out of his neighbors’ lawns. He and his wife aren’t in trouble on their mortgage, he said, but the weed of uncertainty on the street grows taller daily. He used to count the signs, he said, but he’s lost track.

“The signs and the burnt-out lawns tell you who’s going,” Vincent said. “It’s not easy to swallow.”

KELLY BENNETT

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