Las Vegas continues to lead nation in foreclosures

VEGAS INC coverage

With unemployment running at 14.2 percent locally, it’s no surprise the Las Vegas housing market continues to lead the nation in the latest foreclosure rankings.

Foreclosure tracker RealtyTrac of Irvine, Calif., on Wednesday night released its national data for the just-concluded third quarter. Its report showed:

• Of the 25 U.S. metro areas with a population of 200,000 or more with the highest foreclosure rates, Las Vegas was No. 1, with one in every 39 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing initiating the process.

• Nevada, with an unemployment rate in August of 13.4 percent, topped the state rankings for foreclosures, with one in every 44 homes receiving a filing.

The numbers compare to a rate nationwide of one in every 213 homes receiving a filing during the quarter, RealtyTrac said.

RealtyTrac said Nevada foreclosure activity decreased from the second quarter, thanks to fewer scheduled auctions and “REOs,” where banks foreclose on and then repurchase properties. But default notices in Nevada increased 15 percent from the second quarter to 11,114 in the third quarter.

This was boosted in part by a 16 percent month-over-month increase in defaults in September, a signal that more properties will be auctioned once the foreclosure process is completed.

Wednesday night’s report follows release earlier in the week of pricing information from the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.

The Realtors said that in the Las Vegas area in September, home prices were off 8.6 percent from the year-ago level.

As far as trends in foreclosures nationwide, RealtyTrac analysts said, they appear to be picking up again after a lull.

The company said foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 610,337 properties in the third quarter, an increase of less than 1 percent from the second quarter and a decrease of 34 percent from the third quarter of 2010.

“U.S. foreclosure activity has been mired down since October of last year, when the robo-signing controversy sparked a flurry of investigations into lender foreclosure procedures and paperwork,” RealtyTrac CEO James Saccacio said in a statement.

“While foreclosure activity in September and the third quarter continued to register well below levels from a year ago, there is evidence that this temporary downward trend is about to change direction, with foreclosure activity slowly beginning to ramp back up.

“Third quarter foreclosure activity increased marginally from the previous quarter, breaking a trend of three consecutive quarterly decreases that started in the fourth quarter of 2010,” Saccacio said. “This marginal increase in overall foreclosure activity was fueled by a 14 percent jump in new default notices, indicating that lenders are cautiously throwing more wood into the foreclosure fireplace after spending months spent trying to clear the chimney of sloppily filed foreclosures.”

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