Foreclosures in the first half of the year increased in the majority of U.S. cities, but declined in nine out of the ten largest metropolitan areas of the nation, according to the midyear Realty Trac report.
The foreclosure numbers showed a drop, however, in the Fort Meyers, Florida metro area, nearly 22% down from the prior six months. Other Florida cities in the index among the top 10 included Orlando and Miami, two of the nation’s harshest hit real estate markets. More homeowners received foreclosure notices in the Miami area during the first half of the year than any where else in the nation.
Hard hit California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona account for all top 20 metro foreclosure rates with Florida leading the way. California was second in the study with eight of the top cities, while Nevada and Arizona each had one large metro area most heavily impacted by foreclosures.
The study clearly shows that the foreclosure crisis is far from over even though activity may have peaked in some of the hardest hit areas of the country. Mortgage modifications and refinancing have contributed to fewer foreclosures in some areas of the country, but higher unemployment is also adding to the foreclosure epidemic.
Las Vegas, Nevada maintained the highest metropolitan foreclosure rate during the first half of the year for any metro area with 6.6% of all residential properties receiving a foreclosure filing, more than five times the national average. Easy to get subprime and adjustable rate mortgages along with “Liar Loans” in which purchasers were not required to prove income or employment contributed to Las Vegas foreclosures.
In the Central Valley of California, Modesto claimed the nation’s third highest metro foreclosure rate. Other Golden State honors for being foreclosure hot spots included Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario in the Inland Empire at #5, Stockton at sixth on the list and Vallejo-Fairfield at #9.
The Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale urban center in Arizona posted the country’s seventh highest foreclosure rate with a little more than 4% of its homes being slapped with foreclosure notices during the first half of the year.