The Foreclosure Epidemic Is Far From Over In These 5 Places

The U.S. real estate market has rebounded nicely, but some areas are still suffering with underwater mortgages, delinquent loans, and foreclosures.

Aug 2, 2014 at 11:00AM

While the U.S. housing market has made tremendous progress in getting the excess of foreclosures off the books, there are some places where a lot of foreclosed homes are still lingering on the market.

In fact, in a lot of cities across the United States, foreclosures still make up over 10% of all homes sold. And, while some of these places were among the hardest-hit by the mortgage crisis, like Phoenix and Las Vegas, a lot are not in areas you might think of as "high-foreclosure".

Here are five metropolitan areas with extremely high foreclosure sales activity as of June 2014, according to Zillow.

Tucson, Arizona (foreclosures make up 14% of total sales)
This metropolitan area of just under one million people is the second-largest in Arizona, and was hit pretty hard by the mortgage crisis, with the average home value falling 44% from the peak to the bottom.

Although Zillow ranks Tucson's housing market as "stable" due to lower-than-average mortgage delinquency, there are still a great deal of foreclosures on the books. Additionally, with more than 30% of homeowners with mortgages currently underwater on their equity, it's not likely the trickle of foreclosures will end in the immediate future.

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Las Vegas, Nevada (foreclosures make up 14.8% of total sales)
Las Vegas was one of the hardest-hit markets in the crisis with home values plunging by about 65% post-crisis, but it has experienced one of the strongest rebounds in recent years. The average Las Vegas home value is up 22% in the past year alone, and is forecast to rise by another 8.4% over the next year.

Still, 12.6% of all Las Vegas mortgages are in some stage of delinquency, and 33% owe more than their home is worth. With numbers like these, it's highly likely we'll see a high foreclosure rate for years to come.

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Columbia, South Carolina (foreclosures make up 15.8% of total sales)
Columbia is not one of the markets you would generally associate with the foreclosure crisis, but activity has increased over the recent years. Unlike most of the country, Columbia's home values have rebounded by just 6% from the bottom. About 25% of homeowners have negative equity, and this has led to a high foreclosure rate of about three times the national average.

In a difficult market like this, homes tend to sit on the market for a while, and many homeowners don't want to sell until the market rises significantly, making foreclosures a disproportionately high portion of the inventory.

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Mobile, Alabama (foreclosures make up 19.2% of total sales)
Mobile is a very inexpensive market, with the average home value just over $97,000. It is also one of the few markets that have actually declined over the past year.

Zillow has Mobile rated as 0.6 out of 10 in terms of market health, one of its lowest ratings in the country. This is not only due to it being a declining market (which makes obtaining a mortgage much more difficult), but because 29% of homeowners have negative equity and the foreclosure rate is nearly four times the national average.G

Yuma, Arizona (foreclosures make up 20.4% of total sales)
The only market in the country whose market is more than 20% foreclosures, Yuma has an astonishing 38% of homes with negative equity. However, the area has a relatively low foreclosure rate (just above the U.S. average), which indicates that foreclosed homes are sitting on the market, or on banks' balance sheets for a while.

Yuma was one of the hardest-hit areas on the country, and home values are still 36% below the pre-crisis peak, which explains the high underwater mortgage rate. However, Zillow projects home values will rise 6% over the next year, which could give the banks more incentive to move their foreclosure inventories more aggressively.

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Ken Lund

These aren't the only areas with high rates of foreclosures. In fact, there are currently 42 metropolitan areas in the U.S. whose home sales consist of at least 10% foreclosures. If you want to see where your local market ranks, check out Zillow's "foreclosure resales percentage" data on the company's research page. As you'll see, the wave of foreclosures isn't quite over yet.

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