Notices of default were down 82% year over year for December in Clark County following a Nevada law that creates additional requirements for lenders trying to foreclose on properties. 

The law, which went into effect Oct. 1 of last year, made it a felony for a mortgage servicer or trustee to make false representations concerning a title, and levies fines on servicers if fraud, such as robo-signing, is detected. The law also requires servicers 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.

December’s numbers, released by DataQuick on Thursday and based on the number of Trustees Deeds filed at the county recorder’s office, shows only 921 NODs filed for the month, down 28.1% from November’s 1,281. 

While NODs are the first step in the foreclosure process, the number of homes lost to foreclosures also fell. Lenders foreclosed on 1,744 single-family house and condo units in December, down 9.7% from November and 22.6% from the previous December. Foreclosures were up for all of 2011, however. Lenders foreclosed on 32,730 house and condo units in the county, up 12.8% from the year before.

Home sales in the Las Vegas-area rose year-over-year for the sixth consecutive month in December due to increased activity below $200,000, which continued to compensate for the decline in higher price ranges. Home prices remain flat, with the median sale price seemingly stuck at $115,000 for the fourth month in a row – 63.1% short of the peak $312,000 median in November 2006.

DataQuick’s Thursday release said the median’s decline to mid 1990s levels can be attributed to several factors including “home price depreciation; robust sales of low-cost foreclosures; robust sales to investors, who mainly target low-cost properties; extraordinarily low new-home sales (new homes tend to sell for more than resale homes); and higher-than-usual condo resales (condos tend to be the least expensive homes).”

December saw an 8.1% increase in home sales in Clark County from November, but a rise between November and December is normal due to the desire to close deals by the end of the year for tax purposes. The rise still falls below the average rise (12.5%) between the two months based on data collected since 1994.

December also showed a 1.7% gain year-over-year in homes that resold, marking the 12th consecutive month in which resales have posted an annual gain. Newly built homes also had an increase in sales from a year ealier by 15.6%, but was still the second lowest December on record.

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