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Of hardest-hit metros, Tampa Bay one of three where foreclosures rose in 2010

Tampa Bay made another dubious foreclosure list for 2010.

The region's foreclosure activity increased from 2009, while figures dropped in 17 of the 20 hardest-hit metropolitan areas in the country, according to a report released today by RealtyTrac.

The bay area ranked 17th with nearly 5 percent of its housing facing foreclosure filings last year — 64,963 properties. That represented a nearly 4 percent jump from 2009. Figures also rose in the regions of Boise City-Nampa, Idaho, and Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach.

Statewide, nine Sunshine State regions finished the year among the top 20 areas with the most foreclosures.

Communities in California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona accounted for 19 of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates. The Las Vegas metro area led the country with 88,198 properties in foreclosure in 2010 — nearly 11 percent of its housing.

Although foreclosure activity rose from 2009 in 149 of the nation's 206 metropolitan areas with populations higher than 200,000, the regions with the 10 highest foreclosure rates all reported decreasing foreclosure activity from 2009, the report said.

Trouble still looms in 2011, said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac.

"Foreclosure levels remained five to 10 times higher than historic norms in most of those hard-hit markets, where deep fault lines of risk remain and could potentially trigger more waves of foreclosure activity in 2011 and beyond," he said.

The foreclosure rise doesn't surprise one Tampa Realtor.

Rae Catanese of Prudential Tropical Realty said banks are moving slowly to accept offers on short sales. The houses fall into foreclosure after buyers wait three months or longer and eventually walk away, she said.

"It's difficult for buyers to wait," she said.

Despite the higher number of foreclosures, Catanese said many foreigners and cash buyers are scouring the market again for the best deals.

"It's the busiest I've been in more than 3½ years," she said. "I've had to funnel leads to other agents."

Mark Puente can be reached at mpuente@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8459.

Worst year for new home sales

U.S. sales of new homes in 2010 totaled 321,000, the Commerce Department said Wednesday, the worst year on records dating back 47 years. It was a drop of 14.4 percent from the 375,000 homes sold in 2009 and marked the fifth consecutive year of sales declines. But the year ended on a stronger note as buyers purchased new homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 329,000 units in December, a 17.5 percent increase from November. Still, economists say it could be years before sales rise to a healthy rate of 600,000 units a year.

Associated Press

Of hardest-hit metros, Tampa Bay one of three where foreclosures rose in 2010 01/27/11 [Last modified: Thursday, January 27, 2011 3:32pm]
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