More than 3,600 San Diego mortgages went into default last month — not quite the fastest pace on record, but close enough.

Additionally, 988 previously-defaulted homeowners received notice of imminent repossession. This number is up from the prior month but has been trending down since the middle of 2008.

Much ink has been spilled on the divergence seen in the accompanying graph. San Diegans are defaulting on their mortgages in near-record amounts, but lenders aren’t following through with the foreclosures at nearly the pace they were last year. And even as the edifice of troubled mortgages grows, the number of homes actually available for sale is quite small by recent standards.

Anecdotally, several insiders have suggested that the disparity between the volume of defaults and completed foreclosures has less to do with homeowners “working out” their troubled loans and more to do with a gumming up of the machinery that processes foreclosures. A quote in Kelly’s latest piece, for instance, points a finger at “legislative and industry moratoria” and suggests that a big slug of foreclosed properties will hit the markets soon enough.

For now, though, an awful lot of homes remain in foreclosure limbo.

— RICH TOSCANO

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