Nevada Tops the List in U.S. Foreclosure Rates

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NEW YORK (AP) - Nevada had the highest foreclosure rate among states in the second quarter, according to a report showing the number of U.S. households facing foreclosure more than doubled compared with a year ago.

Nationwide, 739,714 homes received at least one foreclosure-related notice during the quarter, or one in every 171 U.S. households, Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac Inc. said. That's up 121 percent from the second quarter of 2007.

Soft housing sales, declining home values, tighter lending standards and a sluggish U.S. economy have left strapped homeowners with few options to avoid foreclosure. Many can't find buyers or owe more than their home is worth and can't refinance into an affordable loan.

Foreclosure filings increased year-over-year in all but two states, North Dakota and Alabama.

Nevada, California, Arizona, and Florida continued to clock in the highest foreclosure rates.

Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons issued a statement calling it "very troubling" that one in every 43 Nevada households received a foreclosure filing during the quarter -- the highest foreclosure rate among the states and nearly four times the national average.

Gibbons said the state Department of Business and Industry offered an Internet Web site listing resources for homeowners, and the state Housing Division was preparing to implement federal law if Congress acts.

"The division's efforts will help provide assistance to Nevadans more quickly once the new federal law takes effect," the governor said.

Las Vegas had the third highest foreclosure rate among cities, with one in every 35 households receiving a foreclosure filing during the quarter. Foreclosure filings were reported on 21,742 Las Vegas metropolitan properties during the quarter, up more than 25 percent from the previous quarter and up nearly 144 percent from the second quarter of 2007.

Cities in California and Florida accounted for 16 of the worst 20 metro foreclosure rates. Stockton, Calif., had the worst rate, with one in every 25 homes in the town receiving a foreclosure filing. That's nearly seven times the national average.

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RealtyTrac monitors default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions. Banks took back more than 222,000 properties nationwide in the second quarter, the company said. Bank repossessions accounted for 30 percent of total foreclosure activity, up from 24 percent in the previous quarter.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com projects that by the end of next year, nearly 2.8 million U.S. households will either face foreclosure, turn over their homes to their lender or sell the properties for less than their mortgage's value.

The foreclosure report comes as the Senate passes a massive housing rescue bill.

The bill is designed to keep an estimated 400,000 homeowners out of foreclosure and support troubled mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It's considered the most significant housing legislation in a generation.

The plan creates a new regulator and tighter controls on the government-sponsored mortgage firms and starts a permanent affordable housing program to be financed by their profits. That fund would be tapped to cover any government losses from the foreclosure rescue.

At a hearing on Capitol Hill, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., called on the mortgage industry to delay or cancel foreclosures until the bill goes into effect Oct. 1 for those troubled borrowers who may qualify for the program.

Investors remain jittery about the two government-sponsored mortgage companies' ability to raise cash to protect against losses.

AP Business Writer Alan Zibel and Associated Press Writer Julie Hirschfeld Davis in Washington contributed to this report.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.

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