There is good news on the home foreclosure front this week.
RealtyTrac says its just-released 2010 Year-End Metropolitan Foreclosure Market Report shows that while foreclosure activity increased from 2009 in 149 of the nation's 206 metropolitan areas with a population of 200,000 or more, the metro areas with the 10 highest foreclosure rates all posted decreasing foreclosure activity from 2009 and six of the top 10 also posted decreasing foreclosure activity from 2008.
California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona cities accounted for 19 of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates, with Boise City-Nampa, Idaho the lone exception at No. 20.
Boise also was one of only three metros in the top 20 where foreclosure activity increased from 2009, along with the Florida metro areas of Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach at No. 13 and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater at No. 17.
"Foreclosure floodwaters receded somewhat in 2010 in the nation's hardest-hit housing markets," said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. "Even so, foreclosure levels remained five to 10 times higher than historic norms in most of those hard-hit markets, where deep fault-lines of risk remain and could potentially trigger more waves of foreclosure activity in 2011 and beyond.
Meanwhile foreclosures became more widespread in 2010 as high unemployment drove activity up in 72 percent of the nation's metro areas -- many of which were relatively insulated from the initial foreclosure tsunami."
Top 10 metro foreclosure rates
Las Vegas-Paradise continued to post the nation's highest metro foreclosure rate, with one in every 9 housing units (10.88 percent) receiving a foreclosure filing in 2010 -- nearly five times the national average. A total of 88,198 Las Vegas-area properties received a foreclosure filing in 2010, a decrease of 7 percent from 2009 but still up 31 percent from 2008.
Despite decreasing foreclosure activity from both 2009 and 2008, Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., documented the nation's second highest metro foreclosure rate, with one in every 12 housing units (8.40 percent) receiving a foreclosure filing in 2010. A total of 30,660 properties in the metro area received a foreclosure filing in 2010, down 28 percent from 2009 and down 25 percent from 2008.
Modesto, Calif., also reported a decrease in foreclosure activity from 2009 and 2008, but the metro area still posted the nation's third highest metro foreclosure rate with one in every 14 housing units (7.34 percent) receiving a foreclosure filing in 2010.
Along with Cape Coral-Fort Myers and Modesto, four other metro areas with foreclosure rates in the top 10 also reported two-year decreases in foreclosure activity: No. 6 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif., where foreclosure activity was down nearly 20 percent from 2009 and nearly 10 percent from 2008; No. 7 Stockton, Calif., where foreclosure activity was down nearly 19 percent from 2009 and nearly 25 percent from 2008; No. 8 Merced, Calif., where foreclosure activity was down nearly 31 percent from 2009 and 30 percent from 2008; and No. 10 Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif., where foreclosure activity was down 12 percent from 2009 and 3 percent from 2008.
Other metro areas with foreclosure rates in the top 10 were Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale at No. 4 (7.27 percent); Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach at No. 5 (7.08 percent); and Orlando-Kissimmee at No. 9 (6.86 percent).
Trends in 20 largest metro areas
Foreclosure activity trends were evenly split in the nation's 20 largest metro areas, with 10 of those metro areas showing decreasing foreclosure activity from 2009, and 10 showing increasing foreclosure activity from 2009.
Foreclosure activity increased 26 percent from 2009 in Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas, the biggest increase among the 20 largest metro areas, followed by Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., with a nearly 23 percent increase, and Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga., with a nearly 21 percent increase.
The Washington, D.C., metro area posted the biggest decrease in foreclosure activity from 2009 among the nation's 20 largest metro areas, down 22 percent, followed by three Southern California metro areas: Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, with a 20 percent decrease; San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, with a 17 percent decrease; and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, with a 16 percent decrease.
Metros with most bank repossessions
The Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metro area reported 55,372 bank repossessions (REO) in 2010, the most of any metro area and up 17 percent from 2009. The Chicago-Naperville-Joliet metro area reported 45,555 REOs in 2010, the second most of any metro area and an increase of nearly 20 percent from 2009, and the Detroit-Warren-Livonia metro area reported 43,541 REOs in 2010, the third most of any metro area and up 19 percent from 2009,
Other metros in the top five for most REOs in 2010 were Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, with 42,630 bank repossessions, and Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, with 38,535. All five metro areas in the top five posted increasing REO activity from 2009.