Foreclosures Still On The Rise – Some Improvement in Hardest Hit Areas Though

RealtyTrac® released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™ for the first quarter of 2010, which shows foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 932,234 U.S. properties during the first quarter of 2010, an increase of 16 percent from the first quarter of 2009 (which, I should remind you, was up 24 percent from the first quarter of 2008).

According to the report, the 20 metro areas with the highest rates of foreclosures were still contained to four states:

  • California – 10 of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates
  • Florida – 7 of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates
  • Nevada – 2 of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates
  • Arizona – 1 of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates

The year-over-year foreclosure rate declined in 14 of the 20 top metro areas and in eight of the cities in the top 10, so there is some encouragement for these four states that have been hammered by foreclosures.

“The decreasing foreclosure activity in some of the nation’s top foreclosure hot spots in the first quarter is largely the result of government intervention and other non-market influences, and not a sure signal that those areas are out of the woods yet when it comes to foreclosures,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “For example, the federal government’s new program designed to encourage short sales, which was launched April 5, may have caused some lenders to delay initiating foreclosure against distressed properties — particularly in hard-hit housing markets where a short sale costs less than a foreclosure.”

Top 10 metro foreclosure rates:

  • Las Vegas continued to post the nation’s highest metro foreclosure rate in the first quarter, with one in 28 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing (3.51 percent) — 4.9 times the national average. A total of 28,480 Las Vegas housing units received a foreclosure filing during the quarter, an increase of nearly 13 percent from the previous quarter but a decrease of 19 percent from the first quarter of 2009.
  • Modesto, Calif., foreclosure activity decreased 13 percent from the first quarter of 2009, but the metro area still documented the nation’s second highest metro foreclosure rate, with one in every 34 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing (2.93 percent).
  • Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida, #3 with one in every 35 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing (2.82 percent)
  • Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif., #4 (2.82 percent)
  • Stockton, Calif.,#5 (2.77 percent)
  • Merced, Calif., # 6 (2.76 percent)
  • Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz., #7 (2.63 percent)
  • Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif., # 8 (2.41 percent)
  • Bakersfield, Calif., # 9 (2.33 percent).
  • Orlando-Kissimmee, Florida, #10 (2.30 percent)

Cities outside Sun Belt post big increases:

Several cities in the top 100 but not in the top 20 posted substantial year-over-year increases, continuing the trend of foreclosure activity spreading to areas previously protected from the brunt of the real estate slump.

Foreclosure activity increased nearly 171 percent from the first quarter of 2009 in Columbia, S.C., and the city’s foreclosure rate ranked No. 99, with one in every 202 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing.

Baltimore’s first quarter foreclosure rate was also below the national average, with one in every 170 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing, but the city’s foreclosure activity increased nearly 141 percent from the first quarter of 2009.

Salt Lake City and Charlotte, N.C. also posted year-over-year increases in foreclosure activity of more than 100 percent.

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