Four of nation’s top ten foreclosure cities are in Central Valley

IRVINE
April 28, 2010 9:23pm
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•  Modesto, Stockton, Merced and Bakersfield make the latest list

•  Some foreclosure hot spots are cooling


Cities in California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona once again account for all top 20 foreclosure rates in the first quarter among metropolitan areas with a population of at least 200,000 even while the majority of those top metros report decreasing foreclosure activity from the first quarter of 2009, according to a report Wednesday evening from RealtyTrac Inc., an Irvine-based foreclosure information company.

Four out of the Top ten cities are in the Central Valley.

Modesto is ranked second in the nation with 5,138 homes or 2.93 percent of all housing units in foreclosure in the first quarter.

Modesto’s 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).

Stockton is ranked fifth, with 6,327 homes in foreclosure, or 2.77 percent of the city’s homes.

Merced is sixth. It had 2,307 homes in foreclosure in Q1 or 2.76 of all homes.

And Bakersfield is in ninth in the nation, with 6,343 homes in foreclosure or 2.33 percent of all housing units, says RealtyTrac.

Other Central Valley cities making the short list:

• Sacramento, 13th with 17,439 homes in foreclosure or2.04 percent of all housing units

• Visalia-Porterville, 15th, with 2,451 homes n foreclosure or 1.78 percent

• Fresno, in 17th place, with 5,391 homes in foreclosure or 1.75 percent

• Chico in 44th place, with 1,013 homes in foreclosure or 1.06 percent of total housing units.

California accounted for 10 out of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates, followed by Florida with seven, Nevada with two and Arizona with one. Foreclosure activity declined on a year-over-year basis in 14 of the cities in the top 20 and in eight of the cities in the top 10.

In contrast, foreclosure activity in the first quarter increased on an annual basis in 159 of the 206 metro areas tracked in the report, and foreclosure activity nationwide increased 16 percent from the first quarter of 2009.

"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," says James 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," he says.


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.

With one in every 35 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing (2.82 percent) the Cape Coral-Fort Myers metro area in Florida documented the third highest metro foreclosure rate despite foreclosure activity decreasing nearly 6 percent from the previous quarter and decreasing nearly 26 percent from the first quarter of 2009. The other Florida metro area in the top 10 was Orlando-Kissimmee at No. 10 (2.30 percent).

The Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metro area in Arizona documented the nation's seventh highest metro foreclosure rate in the first quarter, with one in every 38 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing (2.63 percent). First quarter foreclosure activity in Phoenix was up 23 percent from the previous quarter and up 9 percent from the first quarter of 2009.


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.

Methodology


The RealtyTrac report provides a count of the total number of properties with at least one foreclosure filing entered into the RealtyTrac database during the quarter for metropolitan statistical areas with a population of 200,000 or more based on Census bureau estimates. Some foreclosure filings entered into the database during a quarter may have been recorded in previous quarters. 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 received for a property during the quarter, only the most recent filing is counted in the report. If the same type of foreclosure document was filed against a property previously within the estimated foreclosure timeframe for the state where the property is located, the report does not count the property in the current quarter.


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