Thursday, February 14, 2008


Rust Belt and Sun Belt cities led the nation in metro-area foreclosure rates for 2007, according to a new report released Wednesday.

Detroit led the list with nearly 5% of its households entering some stage of foreclosures, which is 4.8 times the national average, according RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for foreclosure properties.

Of the 100 largest U.S. cities surveyed by RealtyTrac, 86 reported higher foreclosure rates.

Separately, a RealtyTrac spokeswoman told that the number of homes that were repossessed, or taken back by the bank, jumped 50% nationwide last year to 404,849 from 268,532 in 2006.

After Detroit, the city with the second highest foreclosure rate was Stockton, Calif., with 4.8% of its households experiencing some foreclosure action, followed by Las Vegas, where 4.2% of households were hit with foreclosure.

RealtyTrac's chief executive, James Saccacio, pointed out in a statement that the cities topping this year's list generally fell into one of two categories.

"Most of the metro areas with the highest foreclosure rates were either cities like Stockton and Las Vegas, which experienced meteoric growth and unsustainable price appreciation over the past few years, or cities like Detroit, which are undergoing a more widespread economic downturn along with higher unemployment rates," Saccacio said.

Metro areas in California, which grew exceptionally fast during the housing boom, also experienced high foreclosure rates last year. Riverside-San Bernardino was number four on the list, followed by Sacramento at number five and Bakersfield at number seven.

Similarly, property values in Florida surged at the height of the housing bubble. In 2007, Miami had the eighth highest foreclosure rate in the nation. Fort Lauderdale and Orlando also showed increased foreclosure activity.

In Ohio, metro areas around former industrial centers ranked high on the list of foreclosure rates. Cleveland had 2.9% of its households undergo some foreclosure action. Akron, Dayton and Toledo also registered higher foreclosure rates.

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