Wednesday, May 12, 2010 | 9 p.m.
The number of homes delinquent in their mortgage payments continued to rise in the Las Vegas valley, and banks foreclosed on a greater number of homes statewide in April than March, according to California-based real estate research firms.
RealtyTrac reported that Nevada retained its No. 1 ranking in the nation in terms of percentage of foreclosure filings for the 40th consecutive month.
The state, which had one filing for every 69 households in April, saw filings increase 10 percent last month when the rest of the nation had a 12 percent decrease, RealtyTrac said.
Foreclosure filings were even compared to April 2009, but the rest of the country had a 27 percent decline, the firm said.
Another research firm, CoreLogic, reported that the most recent 90-day mortgage delinquency rate in March stood at 22.2 percent in the Las Vegas area, up from 21.4 percent in February. The rate has risen every month for more than a year. In March 2009, 14 percent of homeowners were delinquent 90 days or more, CoreLogic said.
The reason behind the foreclosure increase in Nevada was banks repossessing 4,096 homes in April, a 57 percent increase from March.
If the trend continues, that wouldn’t necessarily be a troubling sign for the state’s housing market, which has been at risk because of a high unemployment rate, one analyst said. The inventory of homes for sale has dwindled in recent months.
“If they start foreclosing on a number of houses, that’s what everybody has been waiting for,” said Dennis Smith, the president of Home Builders Research. “It will make the Realtors happy because they will have inventory to sell.”
Although foreclosures have caused prices to fall over the last three years, Smith said based on the level of inventory available and the foreclosures occurring so far, there doesn’t appear to be enough foreclosures to lower prices. At the most, it might keep prices at their current levels, he said.
Banks have been working with homeowners in greater numbers to facilitate short sales by allowing them to sell homes for less than they owe on the mortgage.
CoreLogic reported that Las Vegas continues to lead the nation with mortgages that are underwater. In the first quarter, the Las Vegas valley had 74.7 percent of its homes underwater and 2.9 percent near negative equity — about the same as it was during the fourth quarter of 2009.