Foreclosure activity is down for the first six months of the year, but Sonoma County still ranks near the top fifth of the nation’s housing markets for the percent of homeowners in danger of losing their homes.
Nearly 1.9 percent of county homes — about one in 53 — had at least one type of foreclosure filing in the first half of 2010, according to data released Monday by RealtyTrac. The filings include notices of defaults, notices of foreclosure auctions or recordings that the bank has actually taken back the property.
The county’s foreclosure rate is about 10 percent lower than for the same period last year.
Despite the drop, the county ranks 42nd out of 206 metropolitan areas for the highest foreclosure rates.
Unlike Sonoma County, three out of four metro areas above 200,000 people in the U.S. had their foreclosure rates increase for the first six months compared to the same period of 2009.
However, foreclosure rates decreased in nine of the 10 metro areas with the highest foreclosure rates.
That includes Las Vegas, whose rate of 6.6 percent, or one in every 15 homes, is the highest in the nation. The foreclosure rate was almost 9 percent lower than for the first six months of 2009.
“While we’re seeing early signs that foreclosure activity may have peaked in some of the hardest-hit markets, foreclosures continued to rise in three-quarters of the nation’s metropolitan areas in the first half of the year,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “The fragile stability achieved in many local housing markets hinges on improvements in the underlying economy, specifically job growth. If unemployment remains persistently high and foreclosure prevention efforts only delay the inevitable, then we could continue to see increased foreclosure activity and a corresponding weakness in home prices in many metro areas.”
In California, the hardest-hit metro area is Modesto, ranked No. 3 in the nation with a foreclosure rate of more than 4.5 percent, or one in every 22 homes. That area is followed by No. 4 Merced, also one in 22 homes; No 5. Riverside and No. 6 Stockton, both one in 23 homes; and No. 9 Vallejo, one in 26 homes.
The San Francisco Bay/Oakland metro area is ranked No. 43, directly behind Santa Rosa. Its foreclosure rate is one in 54 homes.
— Robert Digitale