Foreclosure activity in the Las Vegas metropolitan housing market began climbing in the fourth quarter after plunging from May through September, according to Foreclosures.com, a Fair Oaks, Calif.-based investment advisory firm.Defaults in Clark County, Nev., fell from 1,252 in May to 549 in September, but by December they had rebounded to 646 and may rise further, said Alexis McGee, president of Foreclosures.com. "We saw heavy speculative buying in the second half of 2004," she said. "And investor purchases tend to dampen foreclosure activity." But now that a "flat peak" is forming in the Las Vegas home price appreciation curve, investors are starting to take their profits, the company said. Pulte Homes, a major builder in the Las Vegas area, has cut prices by up to 20% on new homes, according to Foreclosures.com.

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