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Foreclosures Growing in Suburbs and Secondary, says RealtyTrac

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Foreclosures are beginning to flare up in suburban and secondary metro markets for Q309, according to a report from RealtyTrac. Dramatic increases in foreclosures from a year ago came in suburban areas previously believed to be more stable, such as Boise, Idaho, up nearly 22% from Q209. Another area, Provo, Utah, is located a distance of 45 miles outside Salt Lake City and rose nearly 11% in the same period. RealtyTrac provides an online marketplace for foreclosure properties with more than 1.5m default, auction and REO listings. In several states, foreclosure activities drifted toward new focal points, such as smaller towns with previously self-sustaining industries. Chico, California in Sacramento Valley, and agricultural hub, had a 98% increase in foreclosures from Q308, according to the report. The Las Vegas metro area had the highest percentage of foreclosures among its housing units with 5.13% in Q309. Merced, Calif. - west of San Jose - had a 3.72% foreclosure rate, and Cape Coral - Fort Meyers, Fla. came in third with 3.67% of homes sliding into foreclosures, according to the report. “You’re moving from Phoenix to Prescott, you’re moving from Las Vegas to Reno,” Rick Sharga, the vice president of marketing at RealtyTrac, told HousingWire. “You are seeing that migration into secondary markets. You’re also seeing a migration into formerly stable areas and areas that have been wracked by unemployment.” Cities in California, Florida and Nevada accounted for the 10 highest foreclosure rates in Q309 among metro areas with more than 200,000 people. However, five of those cities reported decreasing foreclosure activity from Q308, offset by many other markets reporting spikes in foreclosures, according to the report. Sharga sees the foreclosure crisis coming in three waves, and with this new data, the market is showing signs of the second one. "That first wave of foreclosures cratered the economy, which created job losses, which created the second wave. Now, we’re seeing prime rate loans affected by unemployment. And the third wave will be really a repeat of wave one, except this time we’re going to see a switch of Option ARM and Alt-A loans out for the subprime loans. It will probably be as big but somewhat shorter lived," Sharga said. Sharga said that he expects a peak in foreclosures in 2010, only a marginal improvement in 2011 and a return to normal monthly foreclosure activity sometime in 2012. “Rising unemployment and a new variety of mortgage resets continued to gradually shift the nation’s foreclosure epicenters in the third quarter away from the hot spots of the last two years and toward some metro areas that had avoided the brunt of the first foreclosure wave,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “While toxic subprime mortgages drove much of that first wave of foreclosures, high unemployment and exotic Alt-A Option ARMs are spreading the foreclosure flood to more metro areas in 2009.” Write to Jon Prior.

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