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Vegas’s foreclosure rate highest in US

Bloomberg News / October 29, 2009

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SAN FRANCISCO - Las Vegas had the highest US foreclosure rate in the third quarter, followed by cities in California and Florida, as unemployment left more borrowers unable to make their mortgage payments, RealtyTrac Inc. said.

The largest increases in defaults, however, came in areas where foreclosures hadn’t been a “focal point’’ previously, RealtyTrac said. The sharpest increases among the 50 metropolitan areas with high rates were in Boise, Idaho, and Salt Lake City and Provo-Orem in Utah, RealtyTrac said. Foreclosure filings more than doubled in all three areas.

New hot spots developed in Chico, Calif., where the rate almost doubled, and Reno, where the rate rose 80 percent from a year ago. The rates increased 77 percent in Prescott, Ariz.; and 64 percent in Jacksonville, Fla., and Rockford, Ill.

In areas where the rate fell, such as parts of inland California, it was probably because of lenders delaying foreclosures or “servicers ramping up modification programs,’’ Thomas Lawler, founder of Lawler Economic and Housing, said.

Las Vegas led the nation, with 5.13 percent of households receiving a foreclosure filing, almost seven times the national average.