Cities in the Sun Belt continue to post the nation's highest foreclosure rates. According to the year-end metropolitan foreclosure report released by ""RealtyTrac"":http://www.realtytrac.com Thursday, four states accounted for all top 20 foreclosure rates among large metro areas in 2009.[IMAGE]
No surprise here-it's the same usual suspects that have topped foreclosure lists since the housing crisis set in: California, Florida, Nevada, and Arizona. But RealtyTrac noted that foreclosure activity is noticeably spreading into previously insulated metro areas where unemployment is high.
California accounted for nine of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates, followed by Florida with eight, Nevada with two, and Arizona with one. The highest-ranked metro area outside of those four states was in Boise City-Nampa, Idaho, which ranked No. 24 with 4.66 percent of its housing units receiving at least one foreclosure notice in 2009.
""While it was expected that cities from states with the highest levels of foreclosure activity would top the charts, there is evidence that we're entering a new wave of foreclosures, driven more by unemployment and economic[COLUMN_BREAK]
hardship than what we've seen over the past few years,"" said James J. Saccacio, CEO of RealtyTrac.
Saccacio went on to explain that areas like Provo, Utah; Fayetteville, Arkansas; Portland, Oregon; and Rockford, Illinois, all posted foreclosure rates above the U.S. average in 2009. And markets like Honolulu, Minneapolis, and Seattle saw foreclosure activity increase at more than twice the national pace over the past 12 months.
Las Vegas posted the nation's highest metro foreclosure rate for the year, with more than 12 percent of its housing units receiving a foreclosure notice in 2009 - more than five times the national average. Perhaps a sign that even the hardest hit areas are showing signs of recovery, Las Vegas reported a quarter-over-quarter decline in foreclosure activity in the fourth quarter - as did all the other metro areas with foreclosure rates ranking among the top 10 for 2009.
With 11.87 percent of its housing units receiving a foreclosure notice in 2009, Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida documented the second highest metro foreclosure rate. Other Florida cities in the top 10 were Orlando-Kissimmee at No. 7 (8.17 percent), Port St. Lucie at No. 9 (7.58 percent), and Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach at No. 10 (7.16 percent).
Merced, California, registered the nation's third highest metro foreclosure rate, with more than 10 percent of its housing units in some stage of foreclosure in 2009. Other California cities in the top 10 were Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario at No. 4 (8.80 percent), Stockton at No. 5 (8.62 percent), and Modesto at No. 6 (8.53 percent).
The Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metro area in Arizona documented the nation's eighth highest metro foreclosure rate last year, with more than 8 percent of its housing units receiving a notice during the year.