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#3 state in the U.S. for February foreclosures: Arizona

Arizona

Sign of the times in sunny Arizona (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

[Source: Maurna Desmond, Forbes] — Rising unemployment is delivering another blow to the depressed U.S. housing market.  After months of declines in the number of foreclosures despite rising mortgage defaults, with a barricade of state and lender moratoriums preventing repossessions, foreclosures rose 6% in February from the month before, with 209,631 filings in all, according to Irvine, Calif.-based data firm RealtyTrac.  Compared to the corresponding month a year ago, foreclosures were up 30%…

Coming in at #3 is Arizona where high vacancy rates in overbuilt areas continue to plague this sunny state:

  • Pre-foreclosures and foreclosures, February 2009: 18,119
  • Rank, housing units per foreclosure: 147
  • Rank, housing units per foreclosure: No. 2
  • Rate, change from February 2008: 88%
  • Unemployment rate, January 2009: 7%
  • One-month increase (from December 2008): 0.4 points
  • One-year increase (from January 2008): 2.6

[Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Four states rack up half of nation’s foreclosures (yes, Arizona is one of them)

[Source: Alan Zibel, Associated Press] — The nation’s foreclosure crisis is centered in four states. But taxpayers across the country will feel the pain of bailing them out. California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona generated about half of all foreclosure filings nationwide last year, according to RealtyTrac Inc., even though residents in those states hold just a quarter of U.S. mortgages.  Since mid-2007, skyrocketing foreclosures in those states have been magnifying the national rate.

As lawmakers prepare to spend up to $100 billion in financial bailout money on a sweeping foreclosure prevention plan pushed by President-elect Barack Obama, the discrepancy is adding another layer to a problem already confounding economists, politicians, and homeowners.

Just this week, RealtyTrac, an Irvine, Calif.-based foreclosure listing service, reported that more than 2.3 million American homeowners faced the loss of their homes last year, an 81 percent increase from 2007. And Goldman Sachs chief economist Jan Hatzius said in a report that the number of unsold homes on the market is so large that prices are likely to keep falling by an additional 20 percent to 25 percent by mid-2010. But there’s more to it than that.  The Sun Belt states now in trouble are the same ones that for decades have taken jobs and residents from states in colder climates…

The risky loans that were prevalent in Las Vegas and Phoenix are “just completely foreign” to North Dakotans, said David Flynn, an economics professor at the University of North Dakota.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Phoenix leads U.S. home price decline as lenders unload houses

[Source: Kathleen M. Howley, Bloomberg] — Phoenix, the desert city that three years ago led the U.S. in home price growth, had the nation’s worst housing market during October as sales of foreclosed properties depressed prices.  The cost of a single-family home plunged 33% from a year earlier, according to an S&P/Case Shiller index.  The decline was worse than Las Vegas, where prices fell 32%, and San Francisco, where they dropped 31%.  U.S. house prices fell 18% in October, a record in eight years of data.

Arizona had 11,000 notices in October of so-called trustee sales, or foreclosure auctions, according to RealtyTrac Inc., a real estate data firm in Irvine, California.  Foreclosure sales reduce the value of similar properties in the same area as sellers who aren’t in distress are forced to drop their prices to compete.  “This was a case of the higher they climb, the faster and harder they fell,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P.  Phoenix home prices at their 2006 peak had almost tripled within nine years, he said.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]