The sand states, California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona, continue to lead foreclosures in metropolitan areas. However, other cities sheltered so far from high foreclosures, are beginning to creep up the list, according to the year-end 2009 Metropolitan Foreclosure Market Report from RealtyTrac. For 2009, nine of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates belong in California. More than 10% of housing units in Merced, California received a foreclosure filing in 2009, making it the third highest rate in the country. In 2008, Stockton, California had the highest foreclosure rate, but is now down to 8.62%. Florida had eight of the top 20 foreclosure rates in the country. Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida had an 11.8% foreclosure rate in 2009, the second highest among all metropolitan areas. Nevada had two of the top 20 foreclosure rates in the U.S. And a little more than 12% of housing units in Las Vegas received a foreclosure filing in 2009, the most of any other city. The Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metropolitan area in Arizona took the eighth spot with an 8.03% foreclosure rate. Outside of these four states, the only city in the top 25 was Boise, Idaho. There, 4.6% of its housing units received a foreclosure filing. Foreclosures in such areas, outside the sand states, are inching up, RealtyTrac finds. Daren Blomquist, marketing communications manager for RealtyTrac, told HousingWire that what isn’t in the report is the Q409 rates for the top-10 metro areas. “Many of the top-10 areas saw a decrease in foreclosure activity,” Blomquist said. “It’s a sign that some of the government programs are making a dent in the numbers.” According to the latest reports from the U.S. Treasury Department, more than 1.1m trial modification plans were offered through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) through December 2009. Blomquist added that a lot of Oregon cities and Seattle, Washington, places that were insulated from high foreclosure rates, posted higher numbers, but, he noted, those are more related to unemployment. “Areas like Provo, UT, Fayetteville, AR, Portland, OR, and Rockford, IL, all posted foreclosure rates above the U.S. average in 2009. And markets like Honolulu, Minneapolis and Seattle saw foreclosure activity increase at more than twice the national pace over the past 12 months — although all three of those markets still had 2009 foreclosure rates that were at or below the U.S. average,” said James Saccacio, CEO of RealtyTrac. Write to Jon Prior.