Nevada moves to No. 3 in foreclosure ranking

Sam Morris

Foreclosure territory: Housing sprawls across the Las Vegas Valley. A study found that Southern Nevada is particularly susceptible to homeowners walking away from their mortgage responsibilities.

Foreclosure activity slowed in May in Las Vegas and statewide, according to new data released Wednesday.

Nevada moved from No. 1 to No. 3 in the U.S. foreclosure ranking, and Las Vegas moved from No. 7 to No. 15 among large metro areas, according to RealtyTrac, of Irvine, Calif., which tracks foreclosures nationwide.

Despite the improvements, foreclosure rates remain high locally.

In May, one in every 639 homes nationally was in foreclosure. In Nevada, one in every 313 homes was in foreclosure. That number rose to one in every 269 homes in Las Vegas, RealtyTrac found.

Even so, filings were down 3.9 percent in Nevada and 7.6 percent in Las Vegas compared to April.

Declines are even more pronounced compared to a year ago. The number of foreclosures statewide and in Las Vegas fell 66 percent since May 2011, largely because of a new state law that requires stricter documentation for foreclosures. The law has prompted banks to agree to short sales in many cases rather than pursue foreclosures.

In short sales, struggling homeowners can sell their homes for less than what is owed on the mortgage.

In addition, the state and federal governments are promoting programs in which qualified underwater borrowers can receive principal reductions when refinancing.

With the decline in foreclosures, the inventory of homes for sale has been shrinking and prices have edged upwards, the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors reported earlier this month. The median price of an existing home sold locally was $128,000 in May, up 1.6 percent from May 2011.

Despite the declines in Nevada, foreclosure activity increased nationwide from April, RealtyTrac said. Almost 206,000 U.S. properties were in foreclosure in May, up 9 percent from the previous month but down 4 percent from May 2011, according to RealtyTrac. Georgia led the nation, followed by Arizona, Nevada and California.

''U.S. foreclosure activity has now decreased on a year-over-basis for 20 straight months including May, but the jump in May foreclosure starts shows that it’s going to be a bumpy ride down to the bottom of this foreclosure cycle,'' RealtyTrac CEO Brandon Moore said in a statement.

Another potential sticking spot for Las Vegas is the fact that five of the city’s biggest tourism feeder markets ranked among the worst metro areas for foreclosure. They are Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif.; Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco.



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  1. "A study found that Southern Nevada is particularly susceptible to homeowners walking away from their mortgage responsibilities."

    Green -- whoever wrote the caption for your article's pic is ignorant. Every homeowner's obligation is defined by the mortgage note and the law of notes. For banks those notes are like cash and transfer them many, many times. Knowing who is entitled to receive mortgage payments is hardly as easy as paying your monthly bill to NVEnergy -- the foreclosers tend to be shadowy, monolithic institutions all over the map. AB284 addressed some of that problem. How well that new law applies to this reality is still up in the air.

    "Why don't the banks want us to see the paperwork on all these mortgages? Because the documents represent a death sentence for them..... in America, it's far more shameful to owe money than it is to steal it." -- an article from the November 25, 2010 issue of Rolling Stone by Matt Taibbi "Courts Helping Banks Screw Over Homeowners"

  2. Doesn't change my world if your doctored stats put Las Vegas at number 1 or number 3. Same difference.

  3. Nice to see some progress being made, and it's a good thing sales are taking place and prices are inching up. Until the percentage of distressed property loans returns to pre-recession levels, however, values will remain depressed.

  4. For once I have to give credit to the government for forcing the banks to loan money. Making the bank do their jobs has helped in getting money out there to those who want to purchase. Having to wait six months on a short sale loan with the down payment going from 10 to 30% in that time was ridiculous. We are not talking a large amount of money, we are talking $50K.

    Thanks again to the government for making the banks work as well as other entities holding the banks responsible for the properties they claim on their books but refuse to maintain. Take the tax credits away from the banks and watch the market grow even further.

  5. There are plenty of us ready and willing to purchase foreclosed houses, but AB284 has so gummed-up the process that vast numbers are just sitting empty. That is not good for anyone except the vandals. I'd buy two or three more immediately if the foreclosure supply came back.

    All of the complaining about the banks ignores the simple facts that people decided to get the loans, and then stopped paying on them.