Utah foreclosure filings soar -- state 5th in the nation

Published August 13, 2009 6:11 pm
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Utah is fifth in the nation, from June to July, for the number of households on the verge of losing their homes, with foreclosure filings rising 6.42 percent over the preceding month. Nationally, filings rose 7 percent over the last month, as the escalating foreclosure crisis continued to outpace government efforts to limit the damage.

U.S. foreclosure filings were up 32 percent from the same month a year ago, RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.

More than 360,000 households, or one in every 355 homes, received a foreclosure-related notice during July, such as a notice of default or trustee's sale -- not all of which result in a foreclosure. That's the highest monthly level since the foreclosure-listing firm began publishing the data more than four years ago.

Utah's rate over a year ago increased 93 percent. It recorded 3,694 new filings, or one for every 250 households.

Nationally, banks repossessed more than 87,000 homes in July, up from about 79,000 homes a month earlier.

Nevada had the nation's highest foreclosure rate for the 31st-straight month, followed by California, Arizona, Florida and Utah. Rounding out the top 10 were Idaho, Georgia, Illinois, Colorado and Oregon. Among cities, Las Vegas had the highest rate, followed by the California cities of Stockton and Modesto.

Nevada's rate was one in 56 households, or more than six times the national average. Auctions and bank seizures both rose 20 percent from the previous month. California's rate was one in 123 households, three times the U.S. average, and initial defaults were up 15 percent from June, RealtyTrac said. Arizona was third at one in 135 households as scheduled auctions rose 25 percent from the previous month.

While there have been numerous recent signs that the ailing U.S. housing market is finally stabilizing after three years of plunging prices, foreclosures remain a big concern. Foreclosures are typically sold at a deep discount, hurting neighbors' home values.

The mortgage industry has been slow to adapt to the surge in foreclosures. Many lenders have needed government prodding to get up to speed with the Obama administration's plan to stem foreclosures.

The Treasury Department said last week that banks have extended only 400,000 offers to 2.7 million eligible borrowers who are more than two months behind on their payments. More than 235,000, or 9 percent, those borrowers have enrolled in three-month trials in which their monthly payments are reduced.

"The volume of loans that are in distress simply overwhelms" those efforts, said Rick Sharga, RealtyTrac's senior vice president for marketing.

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