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RealtyTrac Foreclosure Report Gives Glimpse Of Post-Recession Market

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Jae C. Hong/AP

A real estate sign stands outside a home in Las Vegas in 2011.

Experts continue to say the state’s real estate market is stable.

They say prices for single-family homes have stabilized to an average of $220,000, more houses are being built, and prices for new construction have jumped.

But, does the black cloud of foreclosures still hover over Nevada’s housing market?

Daren Blomquist, a vice president with RealtyTrac, which is releasing Thursday its 2015 Year-End Foreclosure Report, told KNPR's State of Nevada that foreclosures are still an issue.

According to the report, foreclosure activity dropped to a nine-year low around the country.

"I think what we're doing is we're reaping the benefits of better low origination policies over the past five years, particularly since 2010 we've seen much tighter lending standards," he said, "People have to actually document that they can afford a loan before they're qualified for it."

The report also showed that bank repossessions were up around the country by 38 percent and in Nevada they were up 52 percent.

Blomquist credits the surge to the end of options for many banks and homeowners.

He said banks and homeowners have tried everything to stop repossessions from loan modifications to short sales but they have not worked. For many, foreclosure and home repossession is the last stop. 

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And while signs of the recovery include home prices going up and home sales holding steady, Blomquist believes the housing crisis still hangs over Las Vegas. 

"The foreclosure issue is still nagging the recovery and somewhat hamstringing the recovering in Las Vegas," he said, "And it definitely shows up in the numbers in 2015."

He said distressed housing is keeping the "recovery from being as robust as it might otherwise be."

Overall, Las Vegas ranks 17th in the country in foreclosures. 

Blomquist says the city sits in the top 20 because of how deep the hole was from the housing crisis and because of efforts by state lawmakers to stop it. 

The Nevada Legislature set up a number of laws during the height of the crisis that many people hoped would stop or at least slow down the wave of foreclosures. 

However well intentioned those efforts were, Blomquist said they served to simple delay the pain. 

"What was done is they were giving more opportunities for homeowners to make sure they had every chance to avoid foreclosure and that lengthened the foreclosure process," he explained,  "It did help  some homeowners, but in other cases that just kicked the can down the road."

He said that is partly why there has been a 3 percent increase in foreclosure activity in Las Vegas compared with a 3 percent decrease around the country.

Blomquist also said that despite the progress Las Vegas still has the highest percentage of underwater homes, which is owing more for a home than what it worth, than any other market. 

Guests

Daren Blomquist, a vice president, RealtyTrac

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