A jump in repossession activity in April caused Nevada to reclaim its dubious No. 1 position as the state with the highest rate of foreclosures, data released Wednesday show.
Foreclosure information collector RealtyTrac of Irvine, Calif., said that after just one month in the No. 2 spot trailing Arizona in March, Nevada moved to the top of the list in April in part because of a 15 percent increase in foreclosure starts compared to March.
Before moving to No. 2 in March, Nevada had led the nation in foreclosures for 62 consecutive months with its overheated housing market hit especially hard by the recession.
In April, Arizona moved to No. 4 on the national list while California — a big feeder market for Nevada’s casino industry — advanced to No. 2 with one in every 351 homes there receiving a foreclosure filing.
One in every 300 housing units in Nevada received a foreclosure filing in April, well above the national rate of one in every 698 units receiving a filing, RealtyTrac said.
The firm said April notices of default in Nevada totaled 1,343, up from 1,163 in March and up from 460 in February. These notices initiating the foreclosure process increased 15 percent on a month-to-month basis, though it's unknown how many of those homes will actually be foreclosed on as the owners can try to sell them or become up to date on loan payments.
Foreclosure activity of all types affected 3,909 homes in the state last month, up less than 1 percent from March, the data show.
Despite the increase on a month-to-month basis, Nevada foreclosure activity last month was well off the pace in April 2011. Total Nevada filings were down 67 percent on a year-over-year basis, RealtyTrac said.
A similar situation played out last month in the Las Vegas area, which moved from No. 8 to No. 7 on the ranking of U.S. metro areas by foreclosure rate.
Total foreclosure filings in April in Las Vegas totaled 3,378, up 2.33 percent from March but down 66 percent from April 2011.
Topping the national metro foreclosure list were six California markets: Stockton; Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario; Modesto, Vallejo-Fairfield, Visalia-Porterville and Merced.
Ranking No. 8-10 were Bakersfield, Calif.; Miami and Sacramento.
Nationwide, RealtyTrac said April foreclosure activity was down 5 percent from March and down 14 percent from April 2011.
The declines related in part to banks dealing with distressed loans not by foreclosing, but by allowing homeowners to get out of loans with short sales in which properties are sold for less than the debt against them.
For Nevada, Wednesday’s data confirm reports from earlier in the month showing the state continues to face elevated levels of foreclosures and stressed home prices.
Earlier this month, it was reported Las Vegas median home prices fell 4.8 percent in the first quarter to $122,100 while Nevada was No. 2 behind Florida on the list of states with high rates of mortgage delinquencies.
Nevada’s rate was 11.16 percent of home mortgages past due, suggesting there will be a steady supply of foreclosures at least in the intermediate term.