Sonoma County homeowners last summer entered the foreclosure process in the smallest numbers in nearly nine years.

Lenders recorded 147 notices of default in the county in the third quarter, according to Irvine-based CoreLogic DataQuick.

The notices, the first step in the official foreclosure process, were at their lowest number since 143 such documents were filed in the fourth quarter of 2005. In contrast, nearly 1,400 notices were filed in the first quarter of 2008, during the height of the housing crisis.

The number of county notices declined 27 percent from a year earlier. That was greater than the 19 percent decrease for the Bay Area and the 17 percent drop for the entire state.

“This home repo pipeline isn’t exactly drying up, but it sure is diminishing,” John Karevoll, a CoreLogic DataQuick analyst, said in a statement. “Its negative effect on the overall market is only a fraction of what it was several years ago, and is really only still noticeable in some pockets of the hardest-hit markets of the Inland Empire and Central Valley.”

— Robert Digitale