Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in the sand states account for the top-20 foreclosure rates in the country through Q110, according to RealtyTrac. MSAs in California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona led the way again even though the majority of them reported decreasing foreclosure activity from Q109. California had 10 of the top-20 metro foreclosure rates. Florida had seven. Nevada had two, followed by the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale MSA in Arizona. The Las Vegas area led all MSAs with a 3.51% foreclosure rate, which translates to one in every 28 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing. It is 4.9 times the national average. More than 28,000 homes received a filing in Q110, a 13% increase from the previous quarter but a 19% drop from Q109. The closest MSA was Modesto, California. There, one in every 34 homes received a filing, or 2.93%. “The decreasing foreclosure activity in some of the nation’s top foreclosure hot spots in the first quarter is largely the result of government intervention and other non-market influences, and not a sure signal that those areas are out of the woods yet when it comes to foreclosures,” said James Saccacio, CEO of RealtyTrac. Substantial year-over-year increases came in several cities in the top 100 but none in the top 20. According to RealtyTrac, it’s a “continuing trend of foreclosure activity spreading to areas previously protected from the brunt of the real estate slump.” Foreclosure activity in Columbia, South Carolina increased 171% from Q109. There, one in every 202 housing units received a filing, the 99th highest MSA. Baltimore foreclosure filings increased 141% from Q109, with one in every 170 housing units receiving a filing. Baltimore ranked 82nd among all MSAs. Write to Jon Prior.

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