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Sun Belt Dominates First Half of 2009 Foreclosure Rankings but Unemployment-Related Foreclosures May be Spreading

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RISMEDIA, July 30, 2009-RealtyTrac, one of the leading online marketplaces for foreclosure properties, released its Midyear 2009 Metropolitan Foreclosure Market Report, which shows that cities in California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona continued to document the nation’s highest foreclosure rates in the first half of 2009, with those states accounting for 35 of the 50 highest foreclosure rates among metro areas with a population of 200,000 or more.

While some of the most foreclosure-saturated metro areas in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and California posted declining foreclosure activity in the first six months of 2009, other areas of the country not previously considered foreclosure hot spots have seen increased levels of activity. More than 20% of the metro areas which showed above average levels of foreclosure activity were in states such as Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Arkansas, Illinois and South Carolina, suggesting that much of the new foreclosure activity may be more directly related to growing unemployment than continuing fallout from subprime and adjustable rate loans.

“Foreclosure activity continued its upward trajectory nationwide and in the majority of metro areas in the first half of the year, but there are some significant differences beginning to show up in the data,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “While some of the markets that had the highest saturation of foreclosures over the past few years have seen declining rates, new markets like Provo, Utah, and Boise, Idaho, have seen large increases. As unemployment rates increase in different parts of the country, it’s very likely that we’ll see similar patterns develop elsewhere.”

Top metro foreclosure rates
Las Vegas posted the nation’s highest metro foreclosure rate, with 7.45% of its housing units (one in 13) receiving at least one foreclosure filing in the first half of 2009-more than six times the national average. A total of 58,691 Las Vegas properties received a foreclosure filing during the first half of 2009, a 22% increase from the previous six months and a 56% increase from the first half of 2009.

The Cape Coral-Fort Myers metro area in Florida documented the second highest metro foreclosure rate in the first half of 2009, with 7.20% of its housing units (one in every 14) receiving at least one foreclosure filing, and Merced, Calif., documented the third highest metro foreclosure rate, with 6.89% of its housing units (one in 15) receiving at least one foreclosure filing. Both Cape Coral-Fort Myers and Merced reported a slight decrease in foreclosure activity from the previous six months but still reported increasing foreclosure activity from the first half of 2008.

Other metro areas in the top 10 were the California cities of Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario (5.73%), Stockton (5.64%), Modesto (5.38%), Bakersfield (4.53%) and Vallejo-Fairfield (4.48%), along with the Phoenix metro area (4.44%) and the Orlando, Fla., metro area (4.28%). All seven of these metro areas except for Stockton and Modesto reported increasing foreclosure activity from the previous six months and from the first six months of 2008.

Declining foreclosure activity in some foreclosure hot spots
Foreclosure activity in Stockton decreased nearly 4% from the previous six months and nearly 13% from the first half of 2008, and foreclosure activity in Modesto decreased nearly 3% from the previous six months and more than 9% from the first half of 2008.

With 1.86% of its housing units receiving a foreclosure filing in the first half of 2009, Detroit’s foreclosure rate continued to rank among the top 50 metro foreclosure rates, but foreclosure activity there decreased 8% from the previous six months and 16% from the first half of 2008. Detroit’s foreclosure rate ranked highest in the nation in RealtyTrac’s 2006 and 2007 reports.

Foreclosure activity in Cleveland, which posted the nation’s sixth highest foreclosure rate in 2007, decreased 11% from the previous six months and 30% from the first half of 2008. With 1.36% of its housing units (one in 73) receiving at least one foreclosure filing, Cleveland’s foreclosure rate was still above the national average but was not among the top 50 metro foreclosure rates in the first half of 2009.

Other hard-hit Rust Belt cities posting year-over-year declines were Indianapolis and the Ohio cities of Toledo and Columbus.

For more information, visit www.realtytrac.com.

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