New law pushes Vegas off top of foreclosure list
Las Vegas is no longer the top foreclosure city in the country. A new Nevada law that went into effect in October caused many mortgage servicers to pause the foreclosure process, knocking Vegas off the spot it held held for 22 consecutive months, RealtyTrac said in a report Thursday. The top spot now belongs to Stockton, Calif., where one in every 143 homes received a foreclosure filing in October. Las Vegas dropped to No. 5. More than 230,600 U.S. properties received a foreclosure filing in October, a 7% increase from the previous month. It's another sign servicers are beginning to restart a process held up after months of delays to correct mistakes that surfaced one year ago, according to RealtyTrac. “The October foreclosure numbers continue to show strong signs that foreclosure activity is coming out of the rain delay we’ve been in for the past year as lenders corrected foreclosure paperwork and processing problems," CEO James Saccacio said. "However, recent state court rulings and new state laws keep changing the rules of the foreclosure game on the fly, creating more uncertainty in the housing market and threatening to prolong the road to a robust real estate recovery." Nevada state Assembly Bill 284 took effect Oct. 1, making it a felony if a mortgage servicer or trustee commits false representations concerning a title. There will also be a $5,000 fine assessed if fraud, such as robo-signing, is detected. Servicers are required to provide a new affidavit that provides the amount due on the mortgage, who is in possession of the note and who has the authority to foreclose. Although Las Vegas doesn't hold the top foreclosure rate among cities anymore, the state of Nevada is still plagued by foreclosure problems. One in every 180 homes in Nevada received a foreclosure filing in October. Despite that being a 34% drop from the previous month, it's the still the state with the highest foreclosure rate in the country for the 58th consecutive month. Officials within the Nevada attorney general's office sat down with servicers in October to clarify the law and to continue working on a model affidavit that would satisfy the requirements. "I'm confident we can move forward with nonjudicial foreclosures," said Cathe Cole at the time. She is the vice president of default for Trustee Corps., a designated foreclosure counsel for Freddie Mac. "Some are just waiting for what the uniform affidavits are." Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.