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Utah among top 5 in rate of foreclosures

Published: Thursday, July 16 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

The Beehive State has one of the highest rates of home foreclosure in the country, according to a report released Thursday.

Utah ranked fifth in the midyear 2009 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report compiled by RealtyTrac Inc., an online market research firm based in Irvine, Calif.

One in every 69 households had a foreclosure filing, a rate increase of nearly 88 percent from the same period last year, the report said.

Noting that Colorado and Idaho also are among the top 10, Zions Bank economic consultant Jeff Thredgold said "the Intermountain area is being hit really hard, as is most of the country."

"You have 49 states in recession right now," with North Dakota being the lone exception, he said.

Thredgold attributed Utah's increased foreclosure rate to the prevailing culture that encourages large families.

"People get married younger, they buy a house younger and we have 50 percent more children per adult," he said. "So there are larger-than-average financial stresses in Utah than there are in almost all other states."

He said the state's "serious recession" and tumbling home prices have exacerbated an already challenging economic environment.

Utah also ranked fifth nationwide with one in 110 households receiving a delinquency filing during the three-month period from April through June, an increase of 112 percent from the 2008 second quarter.

RealtyTrac publishes a national database of foreclosure and bank-owned properties from approximately 2,500 counties across the nation. Its report today showed that foreclosure filings — default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions — nationwide climbed 9.5 percent in the first six months of 2009 and jumped almost 15 percent from the first six months of last year.

The report indicated one in every 84 households in the United States received at least one foreclosure filing during the first half of the year.

"Unemployment-related foreclosures account for much of this increased activity, and the high number of borrowers who find themselves owing more on their mortgages than their homes are now worth represent a potentially significant future risk," James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, said in issuing the report.

On the national front, the report noted that more than 6 percent of Nevada housing units received at least one foreclosure filing in the first half of 2009, the country's highest foreclosure rate during the period. The number of Nevada properties that received a foreclosure filing from January to June increased 23 percent from the previous six months and jumped 61 percent from the first half of 2008, the report showed.

Arizona had the second-highest state foreclosure rate, with one in 30 households receiving at least one foreclosure filing. Florida registered the nation's third-highest rate during the period, with one in 33 units receiving a filing.

California ranked forth at one in 34 households, followed by Utah.

e-mail: jlee@desnews.com

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