The number of U.S. properties with foreclosure-related filings rose about 1.7 percent in 2010, to an estimated 2.87 million — approximately one in every 45 households, or 2.2 percent of all U.S. housing units, foreclosure data company RealtyTrac reported today.

The Las Vegas metro area, despite a 7 percent drop in foreclosure filings activity in 2010, still was ranked as the No. 1 foreclosure hotspot, with 1 in 9 housing units there receiving a foreclosure filing in 2010.

RealtyTrac’s report found that foreclosure activity increased in 2010 in 149 of the nation’s 206 metro areas with a population of at least 200,000, while all 10 metro areas with the highest foreclosure rates in 2010 experienced an annual decline in foreclosure-filings activity.

James J. Saccacio, RealtyTrac CEO, said in a statement, "foreclosure levels remained five to 10 times higher than historic norms in most of those hard-hit markets, where deep faultlines of risk remain and could potentially trigger more waves of foreclosure activity in 2011 and beyond."

Even so, he added, "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.”

The top 10 metro areas with the highest rate of properties with foreclosure filings in 2010:

Top 10 Foreclosure Hot Spots: 2010

Rank Metro Area Share of housing units w/foreclosure filings % change in foreclosure filings activity, 2010
1 Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev. 1 in 9 -7.02%
2 Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla. 1 in 12 -28.25%
3 Modesto, Calif. 1 in 14 -13.29%
4 Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. 1 in 14 -6.79%
5 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Fla. 1 in 14 -0.69%
6 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. 1 in 14 -19.91%
7 Stockton, Calif. 1 in 14 -18.79%
8 Merced, Calif. 1 in 14 -30.85%
9 Orlando-Kissimmee, Fla. 1 in 15 -14.51%
10 Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif. 1 in 16 -12.03%

All but one of the top 20 metros with the highest foreclosure rates were in four states: California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona.

RealtyTrac reported that foreclosure activity jumped about 26 percent in 2010 in the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas, metro area, which it said was the largest increase among the 20 largest U.S. metro areas. Second on that list was the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., metro area, up about 23 percent, and Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga., up about 21 percent.

The Phoenix metro area was home to the highest volume of bank repossessions (REOs) in 2010, the company also reported, up about 17 percent from 2009, with 55,372. The Chicago metro area was second on the list with 45,555 REOs (up about 20 percent), followed by Detroit (up about 19 percent).

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