Nevada retakes top spot as state with highest foreclosure rate

Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun file

Houses sprawl across the Las Vegas Valley. When the housing bubble burst in 2007, Las Vegas became the No. 1 area in foreclosures nationwide.

A jump in repossession activity in April caused Nevada to reclaim its dubious No. 1 position as the state with the highest rate of foreclosures, data released Wednesday show.

Foreclosure information collector RealtyTrac of Irvine, Calif., said that after just one month in the No. 2 spot trailing Arizona in March, Nevada moved to the top of the list in April in part because of a 15 percent increase in foreclosure starts compared to March.

Before moving to No. 2 in March, Nevada had led the nation in foreclosures for 62 consecutive months with its overheated housing market hit especially hard by the recession.

In April, Arizona moved to No. 4 on the national list while California — a big feeder market for Nevada’s casino industry — advanced to No. 2 with one in every 351 homes there receiving a foreclosure filing.

One in every 300 housing units in Nevada received a foreclosure filing in April, well above the national rate of one in every 698 units receiving a filing, RealtyTrac said.

The firm said April notices of default in Nevada totaled 1,343, up from 1,163 in March and up from 460 in February. These notices initiating the foreclosure process increased 15 percent on a month-to-month basis, though it's unknown how many of those homes will actually be foreclosed on as the owners can try to sell them or become up to date on loan payments.

Foreclosure activity of all types affected 3,909 homes in the state last month, up less than 1 percent from March, the data show.

Despite the increase on a month-to-month basis, Nevada foreclosure activity last month was well off the pace in April 2011. Total Nevada filings were down 67 percent on a year-over-year basis, RealtyTrac said.

A similar situation played out last month in the Las Vegas area, which moved from No. 8 to No. 7 on the ranking of U.S. metro areas by foreclosure rate.

Total foreclosure filings in April in Las Vegas totaled 3,378, up 2.33 percent from March but down 66 percent from April 2011.

Topping the national metro foreclosure list were six California markets: Stockton; Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario; Modesto, Vallejo-Fairfield, Visalia-Porterville and Merced.

Ranking No. 8-10 were Bakersfield, Calif.; Miami and Sacramento.

Nationwide, RealtyTrac said April foreclosure activity was down 5 percent from March and down 14 percent from April 2011.

The declines related in part to banks dealing with distressed loans not by foreclosing, but by allowing homeowners to get out of loans with short sales in which properties are sold for less than the debt against them.

For Nevada, Wednesday’s data confirm reports from earlier in the month showing the state continues to face elevated levels of foreclosures and stressed home prices.

Earlier this month, it was reported Las Vegas median home prices fell 4.8 percent in the first quarter to $122,100 while Nevada was No. 2 behind Florida on the list of states with high rates of mortgage delinquencies.

Nevada’s rate was 11.16 percent of home mortgages past due, suggesting there will be a steady supply of foreclosures at least in the intermediate term.

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  1. Is this the shadow inventory rearing it's ugly head? Or merely just a response to the deadline of the 'Debt Forgiveness Act' that is set to expire at the end of the year?

  2. It's just the steady flow of overvalued homes that people either cannot afford to keep or would be foolish to hold on to given the drop in home value. And it's only my opinion, but homeowners who try to save their home by extending payments or reducing interest rates are setting themselves up for disappointment in the future unless their mortgage's principle is reduced significantly.

  3. The Banks make Money on each foreclosure by charging the investors to whom they sold these mortgages as grade "A" Securities, then when housing prices drop from foreclosure sales more homeowners get swept into this vicious cycle. So it's a Win - Win for the Wall Street Banks. All Government Programs are little more than give aways to the Banks, while the Homeowners get very little help.

    Then with the decreasing prices and resulting Tax revenue declines, local governments must take drastic action - again continuing the downward spiral
    .
    Until this Housing Crisis, that is now affecting far more people than those that were irresponsible in the first place, is solved - we cannot Fix Anything.

    With Both Political Parties captured by the Wall Street Banking system and pandering for campaign dollars, don't expect even the Democrats to offer much more than lip service and expect nothing at all from the Republicans that will cost Billionaires another Penny. Romney is proposing dramatic additional Tax Cuts for Himself and his .001% class.