Foreclosures dip in top metros; new hot spots emerge

IRVINE, Calif. – Oct. 28, 2009 – RealtyTrac today released its Q3 2009 Metropolitan Foreclosure Market Report, which shows that cities in California, Florida and Nevada accounted for the 10 highest foreclosure rates in the third quarter among metro areas with a population of 200,000 or more.

But five of those Top 10 metro areas reported decreasing foreclosure activity from the third quarter of 2008, while many other metro areas with Top 50 foreclosure rates reported sharp increases in foreclosure activity.

“Rising unemployment and a new variety of mortgage resets continued to gradually shift the nation’s foreclosure epicenters in the third quarter away from the hot spots of the last two years and toward some metro areas that had avoided the brunt of the first foreclosure wave,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “While toxic subprime mortgages drove much of that first wave of foreclosures, high unemployment and exotic Alt-A Option ARMs are spreading the foreclosure flood to more metro areas in 2009.”

New foreclosure hot spots flare up
Among the top 50 metro foreclosure rates, the three biggest year-over-year increases were in Boise City-Nampa, Idaho, and Provo-Orem and Salt Lake City in Utah. In several states the largest increases were posted in cities not previously a focal point for foreclosure activity. The Chico metro area posted the biggest year-over-year increase in California, with foreclosure activity up 98 percent from the third quarter of 2008. The medium-sized metro about 100 miles north of Sacramento had a 12.8 percent unemployment rate in August, above the state and national averages.

A similar trend was seen in cities like Reno-Sparks, Nev., with an 80 percent year-over-year increase in foreclosure activity, Prescott, Ariz., with a 77 percent increase, Jacksonville, Fla., with a 64 percent increase, Rockford, Ill., with a 64 percent increase, and Lansing-East Lansing, Mich., with a 41 percent increase.

Top metro foreclosure rates
Las Vegas posted the nation’s highest metro foreclosure rate, with 5.13 percent (one in 20) of its housing units receiving a foreclosure filing during the quarter — nearly seven times the national average. A total of 40,408 Las Vegas properties received a foreclosure filing during the quarter, an increase of nearly 9 percent from the previous quarter and an increase of nearly 54 percent from the third quarter of 2008.

Despite a 13 percent decrease in foreclosure activity from the previous quarter, Merced, Calif., posted the nation’s second highest foreclosure rate, with 3.72 percent (one in 27) of its housing units receiving a foreclosure filing during the third quarter. A total of 3,092 Merced properties received a foreclosure filing during the quarter, down 11 percent from the third quarter of 2008.

Foreclosure activity in the Cape Coral-Fort Myers metro area in Florida also decreased from the previous quarter and from the third quarter of 2008, but the metro area still registered the nation’s third highest metro foreclosure rate — with 3.67 percent (one in 27) of its housing units receiving a foreclosure filing during the quarter. A total of 13,206 Cape Coral-Fort Myers properties received a foreclosure filing during the quarter, a decrease of 5 percent from the previous quarter and down 2 percent from the third quarter of 2008.

Other metro areas in the top 10 were the California cities of Stockton (3.53 percent), Modesto (3.39 percent), Riverside-San Bernardino (3.37 percent), Bakersfield (2.88 percent), and Vallejo-Fairfield (2.85 percent), along with the Reno-Sparks metro area in Nevada (2.67 percent) and the Florida metro areas of Port St. Lucie (2.63 percent) and Orlando-Kissimmee (2.57 percent).

Report methodology
The RealtyTrac U.S. Foreclosure Market Report provides a count of the total number of properties with at least one foreclosure filing reported during the third quarter of 2009. Data is also available at the individual county level and MSA level. Data is collected from more than 2,200 counties nationwide, and those counties account for more than 90 percent of the U.S. population. RealtyTrac’s report incorporates documents filed in all three phases of foreclosure: Default — Notice of Default (NOD) and Lis Pendens (LIS); Auction — Notice of Trustee Sale and Notice of Foreclosure Sale (NTS and NFS); and Real Estate Owned, or REO properties (that have been foreclosed on and repurchased by a bank). If more than one foreclosure document is filed against a property during the quarter, only the most recent filing is counted in the report.

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