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Are Fourteen of the Top 20 U.S. Metro's shedding their Foreclosure Shackles?

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By : John Smith    99 or more times read
There’s good news for the property market in more than a few of the top 20 American metro areas, with 14 out of 20 reporting year-on-year improvements in their foreclosure rates compared to the first quarter of 2009, despite a general increase across the States.

According to a real estate services provider these declines are indicative of some successes being achieved through government intervention efforts, although the company was as pains to stress that this did not mean that the back of the problem was anyway near broken.

Of the top 20 metros, the Sun Belt continued to feel this most pain, with the four Sun Belt States occupying the four worst positions in the table and contributing largely to the overall less than acceptable 14 / 20 result. By comparison, 14 / 16 of the other leading American areas showed improvements in their foreclosure rate for the first quarter of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009.

Elsewhere in the States things were not nearly as good. Of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates, California claimed 10, followed by Florida with 7. Nevada scored 2, with Arizona bringing up the tail with just 1.

“The decreasing foreclosure activity in some of the nation’s top foreclosure hot spots in the first quarter is largely the result of government intervention and other non-market influences, and not a sure signal that those areas are out of the woods yet when it comes to foreclosures,” James J. Saccacio, chief executive of a real estate listings provider, told me. He added that a government program launched earlier this month and intended to facilitate short sales (where a lender agrees to accept a selling price that is less than the amount owed by a mortgagor), may have caused delays in the lodging of some foreclosure notices and skewed the results.

The real estate company has also confirmed that over 76% of large American metro areas reported year-on-year increases in foreclosure activity for the first quarter of 2010, at an average rate of increase of 16%. Of these, Las Vegas posted the worst foreclosure figures, with 3.5 % of total housing units entering the foreclosure cycle during the period – that’s 4.9 times the national average and 28,480 dwellings in three months.

Foreclosures continue to be the most serious threat to the American housing market, and, by implication, to the U.S. economy. The improvements in some major urban nodes are helpful, however there remains a great deal more to be done elsewhere.
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