Some Top Metro Foreclosure Rates Decrease in 3Q

Irvine, CA-For the third quarter of 2009, five of the top 10 metro areas in California and Florida reported decreasing foreclosure activity from the third quarter of 2008, while new foreclosure hot spots emerged in Idaho and Utah, according to the latest Metropolitan Foreclosure Market Report from RealtyTrac here.

In Merced, Calif., a total of 3,092 properties received a foreclosure filing during the quarter, down 11% from a year ago. Despite a 13% decrease in activity, the city posted the nation's second highest foreclosure rate, with 3.72% of its housing units receiving a filing.

Foreclosures in the Cape Coral-Fort Myers metro area in Florida also decreased from the previous quarter and from the third quarter of 2008, but the area still registered the nation's third highest foreclosure rate with 3.67% of its housing units receiving a filing during the quarter.

A total of 13,206 Cape Coral-Fort Myers properties were in some stage of foreclosure, a decrease of 5% from the second quarter of 2009 and down 2% from the third quarter of 2008.

In California, Modesto, Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario and Bakersfield also saw decreases in their numbers from a year ago.

"Rising unemployment and a new variety of mortgage resets continued to gradually shift the nation's foreclosure epicenters in the third quarter away from the hot spots of the last two years and toward some metro areas that had avoided the brunt of the first foreclosure wave," said James Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac.

In several states the largest increases were posted in cities not previously a focal point for foreclosure activity. New metros stood out among the third-quarter data.

Among the top 50 metro foreclosure rates, the three biggest year-over-year increases were in Boise-Nampa, Idaho, and Provo-Orem and Salt Lake City in Utah.

The Chico metro area saw the biggest year-over-year increase in California, with foreclosure activity up 98% from a year ago. The medium-sized metro about 100 miles north of Sacramento had a 12.8% unemployment rate in August, above the state and national averages.

A similar trend was seen in cities like Reno-Sparks, Nev., with an 80% year-over-year increase in foreclosures, Prescott, Ariz., with a 77% increase, Jacksonville, Fla., with a 64% increase, Rockford, Ill., with a 64% increase, and Lansing-East Lansing, Mich., with a 41% increase.

"While toxic subprime mortgages drove much of that first wave of foreclosures, high unemployment and exotic alt-A option ARMs are spreading the foreclosure flood to more metro areas in 2009," said Mr. Saccacio.

As no surprise to viewers of RealtyTrac data, Las Vegas posted the nation's highest metro foreclosure rate, with 5.13% of its housing units with a filing during the quarter, nearly seven times the national average.

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