Year-end statistics for 2011 show Nevada and Las Vegas maintained their dubious No. 1 spots on the lists of states and cities hit hardest by home foreclosures.
RealtyTrac of Irvine, Calif., which tracks foreclosures, reported Wednesday that during 2011, more than 6 percent — one in 16 — of Nevada housing units received at least one foreclosure filing. That amounted to 72,844 properties with filings last year.
2011 was the fifth consecutive year Nevada has led the nation in foreclosures. The state’s housing market was hard hit by the recession, which brought soaring unemployment (now 13 percent) and falling home prices.
The state topped the 2011 foreclosure list despite a 31 percent decline in foreclosure activity from 2010.
That drop is largely attributed to new legislation requiring banks to provide extra documentation in foreclosure paperwork. This caused what analysts say was only a temporary slowdown in foreclosure activity in the fourth quarter.
Arizona, another state dealing with the aftermath of a boom/bust housing cycle, for the third consecutive year ended up with the nation’s second-highest foreclosure rate. In 2011, one in 24 housing units in Arizona was the subject of a foreclosure filing.
California was ranked No. 3 followed by Georgia, Utah, Michigan, Florida, Illinois, Colorado and Idaho.
In the ranking of metro areas with populations of 200,000 or more, Las Vegas finished No. 1 in foreclosures with 7.38 percent of its housing units (one in 14) receiving a filing in 2011, RealtyTrac said.
Las Vegas had led the nation in foreclosure filings for 22 consecutive months until October, when it was ranked No. 5. Despite the lower ranking for the final three months of the year, the city finished first overall for the entire year.
The pain in Las Vegas is far from over, with analysts saying more than 100,000 homes have been foreclosed on locally during the recession since 2007 and another 100,000 foreclosures are likely during the current cycle.
Ten of the top 20 metro areas with elevated foreclosure rates in 2011 were in California, led by Stockton with one in 18 units receiving a filing.
Also high on the list were Phoenix and Reno.
The high foreclosure rates in Nevada and Las Vegas compare to RealtyTrac statistics nationwide showing 1.45 percent of U.S. housing units (one in 69) had at least one foreclosure filing during 2011.