After ebbing for the past four months, the number of foreclosure notices issued in Pima County jumped 38 percent in August compared with the previous month.

There were 917 notices of trustee sale filed in August, which is up from 666 in July, Pima County Recorder's Office numbers show.

The filings were down 14 percent from August 2010, though.

The notices start the foreclosure process by letting property owners know their loan is in default and an auction has been scheduled. But they don't mean for sure a family will lose its home.

It's not clear if the jump is an anomaly or if banks that had held back have started processing foreclosures again, said John L. Strobeck, the owner of Bright Futures Business Consultants.

So far, Pima County is on track to have fewer foreclosure notices filed this year than last. From Jan. 1 through the end of August, there were 6,430 foreclosure notices filed. That compares with 7,849 in the same time period last year.

Foreclosure sales - recorded as trustee deeds - were also higher in August than the previous month.

There were 569 trustee deeds recorded in Pima County last month, compared with 548 in July.

Those sales have maintained a high pace throughout the year.

While they mean families are losing their homes, real estate analysts say they are essential to a housing recovery because distressed properties that linger on the market drag down property values.

Pima County foreclosures

Trustee-sale notices

2011 2010 2009 2008

August 917 1,067 1,130 814

July 666 1,111 1,063 721

Trustee deeds

2011 2010 2009 2008

August 569 672 418 444

July 548 621 578 437

SOURCE: Pima County Recorder's Office

Contact reporter Dale Quinn at dquinn@azstarnet.com or 573-4197.