Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2008 | noon
Well...at least we're not Detroit.
Nonetheless, Las Vegas on Wednesday officially grabbed the distinction as the region with the third highest foreclosure rate in the nation among the top 100 metropolitan areas, according to new data released by foreclosure tracking agency RealtyTrack.
The metro area saw 4.2 percent of its homes enter foreclosure in 2007, with 59,983 foreclosure filings on 30,375 properties. That was up 169 percent over 2006.
Nevada led the nation in the rate of foreclosures in 2007 with 3.4 percent, more than three times the national average.
Unlike top foreclosure city Detroit, Las Vegas's unfortunate rates were due more to unsustainable growth than widespread economic downturn, RealtyTrac CEO James Saccacio said in a statement.
But if anyone is expecting relief this year, local economists say they might be disappointed.
That's because there are still a hefty number of adjustable rate loans that are set for sharp interest rate increases. Economists are also concerned that a growing unemployment rate in Las Vegas, combined with slumping housing prices here, could send more homes financed by traditional fixed-rate loans into foreclosure.
"In 2007 everyone wanted to talk about subprime predatory lending and investor purchases, but fixed rate mortgage foreclosure could be the story of 2008," said Jeremy Aguero, principal with Applied Analysis. "New unemployment claims are rising and all of the layoffs in residential construction and ancillary jobs like mortgage lending could lead a lot more people into foreclosure situations."