real estate:

Fewer Las Vegas homeowners underwater on mortgages

The number of Las Vegas homeowners with negative equity in their properties continues to decline, thanks in part to rising house prices.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that because of the damage inflicted by the recession on the Southern Nevada residential real estate market, the percentage of underwater homeowners is sky high compared to the rest of the nation.

CoreLogic, a company in Santa Ana, Calif., that tracks real estate data, released new underwater mortgage statistics Thursday.

CoreLogic said that in the first quarter, 64.7 percent of residential properties with a mortgage in Las Vegas were underwater — in negative equity, or upside down. That equals 269,453 properties.

That’s down from 68.4 percent, or 287,396 Las Vegas properties, in the fourth quarter of 2011.

In CoreLogic’s new state rankings, Nevada had the highest negative equity percentage in the nation at 61 percent, down from 64.8 percent in the fourth quarter.

Nevada was well ahead of Florida at No. 2 with 45 percent, Arizona at 43 percent, Georgia at 37 percent and Michigan at 35 percent.

Nationwide, 23.7 percent of homes were underwater in the first quarter, down from 25.2 percent in the fourth quarter, CoreLogic said.

Despite the elevated rates locally, they’re down from the underwater peaks of 77.7 percent (Las Vegas) and 72.7 percent (Nevada) in the first quarter of 2010.

Being in negative equity can occur because of a decline in a property’s value, an increase in the mortgage debt against it or a combination of the two.

In Las Vegas, prices have been rising this year — a development some attribute to banks putting fewer foreclosed homes on the market.

“We are encouraged by the positive trend of increasing housing prices and falling negative equity share in key states like Arizona, Nevada and Tennessee,” Anand Nallathambi, CEO of CoreLogic, said in a statement. “Although it will still be a slow recovery for U.S. homeowners, we see this improvement as a stabilizing and positive development for the mortgage industry.”

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  1. and the other article says foreclosures are increasing in the Valley again. Let's face it. If you are a housing industry rep, you are doing whatever, and quoting any number of massaged statistics in hopes of getting people out and buying. Aint happening........only reason for higher sales numbers is new and non-bank controlled properties, as for foreclosures, people cannot come to terms with the banks over foreclosures and HOAs are charging back fees, to the NEW owner, if the house sat in foreclosure.

    I say the state pass a Blight Reduction Act. If a foreclosed property has sat vacant, for a period of greater than 12 months with no upkeep or maintenance, the city has the right to demolish the property and back charge the banks. And the County has the right to collect back taxes that would have been paid had the property not been foreclosed upon. Time the banks fix what they broke.

  2. "In Las Vegas, prices have been rising this year -- a development some attribute to banks putting fewer foreclosed homes on the market."

    The banks manipulating everything as usual.

    "The enormous abuses of the banking system are not only prostrating our commerce, but producing revolution of property..." -- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Richard Rush, 1819, from "The Works of Thomas Jefferson" Vol. 12