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Foreclosures Fall across America

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By Steve Cook

RISMEDIA, August 1, 2011—Foreclosure activity decreased in 85 percent of the nation’s metropolitan areas in the first half of the year and all top 10 metro areas with the highest foreclosure rates posted decreasing foreclosure activity.

RealtyTrac’s Midyear Foreclosure Report released recently found foreclosure activity decreased on a year-over-year basis in 178 out of the nation’s 211 metropolitan areas with a population of 200,000 or more.

California, Nevada and Arizona cities accounted for all top 10 metro foreclosure rates and 15 of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates in the first half of the year. Only one Florida metro area posted a foreclosure rate among the top 20—Cape Coral-Fort Myers at No. 12—in sharp contrast to the first half of 2010, when Florida cities accounted for nine of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates nationwide.

Also posting foreclosure rates ranking among the top 20 were Boise City-Nampa, Idaho, Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga., Greeley, Colo., and Salt Lake City, Utah.

”Foreclosure activity continued to slow in the first half of 2011, especially in the most foreclosure-saturated markets and in markets where the judicial foreclosure process is used,” says James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “The 20 metro areas with the biggest year-over-year decreases in foreclosure activity were all in states with judicial foreclosure processes—New York, Maryland, Florida, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Illinois.

”These dramatic decreases indicate the foreclosure pipeline continues to be clogged in many local markets across the country, sometimes by a glut of already-foreclosed properties that are not selling quickly, sometimes by a mountain of improperly filed foreclosures that are blocking the inflow of new foreclosure filings – and sometimes by both.”

Las Vegas-Paradise continued to post the nation’s highest metro foreclosure rate, with one in every 19 housing units (5.36 percent) receiving a foreclosure filing during the first half of 2011—nearly six times the national average. A total of 43,944 Las Vegas properties received a foreclosure filing during the six-month period, a decrease of 18 percent from the previous six months and also an 18 percent decrease from the first half of 2010.

Reno-Sparks was another Nevada metro area with a foreclosure rate ranking among the top 10 in the first half of 2011. One in every 34 housing units (2.96 percent) in the Reno-Sparks area received a foreclosure filing during the six-month period, the nation’s seventh highest metro foreclosure rate.

Despite a decrease in foreclosure activity from both the previous six months and the first half of 2010, the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz., metro area posted the nation’s second highest metro foreclosure rate during the first half of 2011, up from the seventh highest metro foreclosure rate in the first half of 2010. A total of 60,985 Phoenix properties received a foreclosure filing during the six-month period, a decrease of 8 percent from the previous six months and a decrease of nearly 17 percent from the first six months of 2010.

Seven California metro areas posted foreclosure rates ranking among the nation’s top 10, led by Modesto at No. 3 with one in every 30 housing units (3.32 percent) receiving a foreclosure filing. Other California cities in the top 10 were Stockton at No. 4 (3.24 percent); Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario at No. 5 (3.21 percent); Vallejo-Fairfield at No. 6 (3.09 percent); Bakersfield at No. 8 (2.78 percent); Merced at No. 9 (2.78 percent); and Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville at No. 10 (2.53 percent).

All but one of the nation’s 20 most-populated metro areas documented year-over-year decreases in foreclosure activity. Seattle was the only exception with a nearly 10 percent increase in foreclosure activity from the first half of 2010. With one in every 98 housing units (1.03 percent) received a foreclosure filing during the six-month period, Seattle’s foreclosure rate ranked No. 57 among all metro areas, up from a No. 97 ranking in the first half of 2010.

Seattle’s rise in the rankings was the biggest jump among the 20 largest metro areas, followed by Houston, up from a No. 109 ranking in the first half of 2010 to a No. 91 ranking in the first half of 2011, and Minneapolis, up from a No. 79 ranking in the first half of 2010 to a No. 64 ranking in the first half of 2011.

A 74 percent year-over-year decrease in foreclosure activity helped push Baltimore’s foreclosure rate ranking from No. 83 in the first half of 2010 to No. 182 in the first half of 2011—the biggest drop in rankings among the nation’s 20 largest metro areas. That was followed by Washington, D.C., down from a No. 67 ranking in the first half of 2010 to a No. 131 ranking in the first half of 2011, and Boston, down from a No. 120 ranking in the first half of 2010 to a No. 158 ranking in the first half of 2011.

For more information, visit www.realestateeconomywatch.com.

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