Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Foreclosures Mount At Record Pace; Is Any Market Safe?

The latest foreclosure report issued by RealtyTrac showed a 75 percent increase in the number of foreclosures from 2006 to 2007, a startling number by most accounts. The 2006 numbers were not good either, so the fact that foreclosures continue to increase at this pace should be concerning. With all the other negative economic news, especially that affecting real estate, it seems that nowhere is safe. But while foreclosures are certainly increasing across the country, there are certain cities which offer a lower level of foreclosure risk.

First American Core Logic publishes a quarterly report that, among other things, details the markets across the U.S. with the highest and lowest foreclosure risk. The 10 markets with the highest risk, as expected, mainly consisted of California and Michigan markets. The markets with the lowest risk, however, were quite surprising. According to the latest report, the 10 markets (of the 100 largest) with the lowest risk of foreclosure were:

1) Baton Rouge, LA
2) Birmingham-Hoover, AL
3) Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
4) Albuquerque, NM
5) Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
6) Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport, VA-NC
7) Bethesda-Gaithersburg-Frederick, MD
8) Richmond, VA
9) Salt Lake City, UT
10) Honolulu, HI

The biggest surprise for me, and probably for most of you as well, is seeing Phoenix on this list. The Phoenix real estate market, along with Las Vegas, has been the face of the real estate bubble (see our Top Overbuilt U.S. Markets article), which of course is still deflating. With the foreclosure numbers coming out of Las Vegas, one might think Phoenix wouldn’t be all that far behind. But lo and behold, somehow Phoenix is the U.S. market with the third least amount of risk for foreclosure.

If you want to check out their methodology for yourself, or if you want to see the top 10 riskiest markets, here is a link to the full report:

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