It was long speculated that California would be the epicentre of the housing crash. So far, it hasn't disappointed. California was the nation's leader in exotic, strange, and default prone mortgage products. Now, in one Californian city after another, the local press are reporting an explosion in defaults and foreclosures.

San Diego is one such city.......

In the fourth quarter of 2006, San Diego County experienced a 169 percent increase in homes receiving notices of loan default from a year ago. Default notices the first step in the foreclosure process - were up to 3,150 from 1,173 for the like quarter 2005, according to DataQuick Information Systems, which compiles home property data.

Throughout California, there were 37,273 default notices - notifying homeowners 90 days behind on payments sent from October to December 2006, marking the most foreclosure activity since the third quarter of 1998, when the number of default notices hit 38,053.

The study, released in January, states that foreclosures tend to occur a year or two after the loan is made. Most of the loans currently entering default originated between January 2005 and February 2006. After the first year or two, many home buyers who took out adjustable rate mortgages and other "inventive loans" experienced the "reset" of their payments; when a buyer's introductory interest rate shifts, and monthly payments increase.