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California, Florida, Ohio Cities Top Foreclosures

Reuters
Wednesday, 14 Nov 2007 | 8:16 AM ET
AP

Cities in California, Florida and Ohio dominated the 25 U.S. metro areas with the highest home foreclosure rates, though rates jumped in most of the top regions during the third quarter, RealtyTrac said on Wednesday.

Foreclosure filings rose in 77 of the largest 100 metropolitan areas from the prior quarter, according to the Irvine, California-based marketer of foreclosure properties.

A broad credit and liquidity crisis during the third quarter exacerbated U.S. housing industry troubles, pushing sales sharply lower and unsold inventory to record highs.

Overall, U.S. residential foreclosure filings nearly doubled in the third quarter from a year earlier, RealtyTrac reported earlier this month.

Stockton, Calif., Detroit, Michigan and Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif., had the three highest foreclosure rates among the 100 biggest U.S. metro areas in the quarter.

Stockton's rate of one foreclosure filing for every 31 households, the highest of the metro areas, was a surge of more than 30 percent from the prior quarter. A total of 7,116 filings on 4,409 properties were reported in the metro area during the quarter.

In Detroit, the foreclosure rate of one filing for every 33 households ranked second and was more than double the number of filings reported in the previous quarter, RealtyTrac said. A total of 25,708 filings on 16,079 properties were reported.

Other cities in the top 10 were Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Las Vegas, Nevada; Sacramento, Calif.; Cleveland, Ohio; Miami, Florida; Bakersfield, Calif. and Oakland, Calif.

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California cities accounted for seven of the top 25 metro foreclosure rates. Florida and Ohio each accounted for five of the top 25 spots.

Home prices in California had surged by double digits in each of the first five years of the decade, and are now leading the price declines that are depressing the U.S. housing market.

A large share of loans in recent years were adjustable-rate and other products aimed at improving affordability. But payment shock after large interest-rate adjustments has made the default and foreclosure rate spike.

Florida has been hurt also by a glut of condos and homes that speculators have been unable to flip, or sell quickly, and are now priced less than the value of the mortgage.

Some Midwest states are particularly hard hit by soft local economies.

"Although cities in just three states -- California, Ohio and Florida -- accounted for more than two-thirds of the top 25 metro foreclosure rates, increasing foreclosure activity was not limited to just a few hot spots," James Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, said in a statement.

As for areas with the biggest number of foreclosure filings, Riverside-San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Detroit and Atlanta led the list.

"Still, there continue to be pockets of the country, most noticeably metro areas in the Carolinas, Virginia and Texas, that have thus far dodged the foreclosure bullet," Saccacio said.

Foreclosure filings reported by RealtyTrac include default notices, auction sales notices and bank repossessions.

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