RealtyTrac: Foreclosure Activity Rises in 57% of Cities

Tampa led all cities with 80% more foreclosures taking place in 2012 than the prior year. Image: ThinkStock

Foreclosure activity increased last year in more than half of the nation’s metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 200,000, according to RealtyTrac.

Out of 212 cities analyzed by the Irvine, Calif.-based real estate provider, 120 experienced an uptick in foreclosure activity in 2012 compared to 2011, representing a 57% year-over-year increase.

However, activity is still down from 2010 when foreclosures peaked in 181 markets.

Tampa led all cities with 80% more foreclosures taking place in 2012 than the prior year. Other major markets in which foreclosure activity grew last year included Miami (up 36%), Baltimore (34%), Chicago (30%) and New York (28%).

Conversely, foreclosure activity decreased on an annual basis in 12 out of 20 of the country’s largest metropolitan areas, led by Phoenix which had 37% less foreclosures filed, San Francisco was down 30%, Detroit fell 26%, and Los Angeles and San Diego both saw a 24% drop.

“Markets with increasing foreclosure activity in 2012 took the first step in finally purging delayed distress left over from the bursting housing bubble,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “Meanwhile, the underlying fundamentals in many of those markets are slowly improving, making it an opportune time to absorb additional foreclosure inventory this year—and that is particularly good news for buyers and investors hungry for more inventory to purchase in those markets.”

Despite double-digit percentage decreases in foreclosure activity compared to 2011, the top four metro foreclosure rates were located in California. Stockton had the highest foreclosure rate where 3.98% of housing units (one in 25) had a filing, which is nearly three times the national average. The top four was rounded out by Riverside, Modesto and Vallejo-Fairfield.

Meanwhile, Florida cities accounted for eight of the top 20 metropolitan foreclosure rates, with Miami leading the way at No. 5 on this list with 3.71% of housing units with a filing. The rest of the notable Florida cities in the top 20 included Orlando ranked eighth, Tampa was 12th and Jacksonville held the 14th spot.

Other markets with foreclosure rates among the nation’s 20 highest were Atlanta at No. 7, Chicago was ninth, Las Vegas was 16th and Phoenix was right behind at No. 17.