High unemployment rates are joining other factors, such as bad mortgage lending and the bursting of the housing bubble, in driving up foreclosure rates throughout the country.
Sun Belt cities continued to show the highest foreclosure rates among metropolitan areas with populations of 200,000 or more, according to report issued Thursday by RealtyTrac. The data show that cities in California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona have 35 of the 50 metro areas worst-hit by foreclosures in the first half 2009.
But the data also show that places with high unemployment that had not previously been foreclosure hotspots have seen more activity in the past six months.
"Foreclosure activity continued its upward trajectory nationwide and in the majority of metro areas in the first half of the year, but there are some significant differences beginning to show up in the data," said RealtyTrac CEO James Saccacio in a statement. "While some of the markets that had the highest saturation of foreclosures over the past few years have seen declining rates, new markets like Provo, Utah, and Boise, Idaho, have seen large increases. As unemployment rates increase in different parts of the country, it's very likely that we'll see similar patterns develop elsewhere."
The Las Vegas area is number one on RealtyTrac's list, with one in 13 housing units in foreclosure, a rate of 7.45 percent. Here's the top ten: