Home foreclosures fell sharply in Southern California in September, with the rates in the greater Valley varying widely, according to a report released Thursday.

There were 9,242 foreclosures in the six-county region, down 56 percent from the same month last year, according to data from RealtyTrac. On a month-to-month basis, the rate rose 8 percent since August.

In Los Angeles County, one in every 899 homes was in foreclosure during the month. In the greater Valley, the high-desert communities of Lancaster and Palmdale topped list, with foreclosures in one out of 359 and one out of 303 homes respectively.

Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, said January passage of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, which made it more difficult for lenders to foreclose on homeowners struggling with mortgage payments, is partially to thank for the improvement.

He noted that between March 2009, when foreclosures in Southern California peaked at 63,000 in one month, the rate had been declining at about 2 percent each month.

“Since HBR took effect the pace has picked up to an average 4 percent monthly decrease in foreclosure activity,” he said, in a statement.

Other Valley communities with high foreclosure rates include Sylmar, with one in every 397 homes; Sunland with one in every 496 and Pacoima with one in every 666.

Among Valley communities with few foreclosures were Valley Village, with one in every 2,279 homes; Burbank, with on in every 2,222; and North Hollywood, with one in every 1,783.

The six-county region includes Ventura and San Bernardino counties and all areas south.