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Top 10 metros for foreclosures

California home to 7 of 10 markets with most activity in first 6 months of 2012

The number of homes hit with foreclosure-related filings during the first six months of the year fell nearly 11 percent from the same period a year ago, to 1.05 million homes, according to public records aggregated by RealtyTrac.

Compared to the second half of 2011, however, foreclosure activity was up more than 2 percent, with 1 in every 126 U.S. housing units receiving a foreclosure filing.

Overall, foreclosure-related filings — including default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions — decreased in June for the 21st consecutive month. But foreclosure starts were up on a year-over-year basis for the second month in a row.

"Foreclosure starts began boiling over in more markets in the first half of the year, particularly in the second quarter," said Brandon Moore, CEO of RealtyTrac, in a statement. "The increases in foreclosure starts in the first half of the year will likely translate into more short sales and bank repossessions in the second half of the year and into next year," he said.

The report also shows that foreclosure activity continues to burn some of the same metros in 2012 — like Stockton and Modesto in California’s Central Valley and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario just east of Los Angeles.

Among metros with populations larger than 200,000, these metros rank No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, for foreclosure activity through the half-year and for June. In the second quarter, it was the same triumvirate, but Modesto and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario switched places in the rankings.

They aren’t the only California metros facing the brunt of the foreclosure fire.

An 18 percent year-over-year increase in foreclosure starts in California in June left the Golden State with the highest foreclosure rate of any state for the month, a jump that landed nine of its metros in the top 10 for June.

Looking at the first half of the year overall, California metros took the top five spots, with Stockton, Modesto, Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Vallejo-Fairfield and Merced collectively averaging a foreclosure rate of 2.5 percent, with about 1 in 40 housing units in those markets receiving a foreclosure-related filing. Two California metros — Bakersfield (No. 8) and Visalia-Porterville (No. 10) — made the top 10, too.

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga. (No. 6); Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. (No. 7); and Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev. (No. 10) were the non-California metros in the top 10.

Despite the heavy California presence in the metro top 10, Nevada, even after seeing a 61 percent year-over-year drop in foreclosure activity, tops U.S. states with about 1 in every 57 of its housing units having received a foreclosure filing in the first half of 2012. Arizona, too, saw a drop (37 percent) in foreclosures from a year ago, taking the No. 2 spot on the list. Georgia is No. 3.

10 states with highest foreclosure rates

Area Foreclosure rate (Jan. – June 2012)
U.S. 1 in 126 housing units
Nevada 1 in 57
Arizona 1 in 58
Georgia 1 in 63
California 1 in 64
Florida 1 in 65
Illinois 1 in 71
Michigan 1 in 98
Colorado 1 in 103
Ohio 1 in 106
Utah 1 in 108

Source: RealtyTrac

See the pages below for data from the 10 metros with the highest foreclosure rates during the first six months of 2012.

Location: Stockton, Calif.


Foreclosure rate (Jan. – June 2012) 1 in every 38 housing units
Percent change in foreclosure rate (July – Dec. 2011) -13.42%
Total housing units 233,755
Metro population 685,306

Child’s silhouette at Weber Point Event Center in Stockton, Calif., via Shutterstock