LAS VEGAS -- Nevada's home foreclosure rate dropped 31 percent last year from 2010 but the state still had the nation's highest rate for the fifth consecutive year, RealtyTrac.com reported Wednesday.
The Las Vegas metro area also had the nation's highest foreclosure rate in 2011 among communities with at least 200,000 residents.
One of every 16 housing units in Nevada received a foreclosure filing in 2011, consisting of either a default notice, a notice of a trustee sale, or a bank takeover of a property. Following Nevada were Arizona (one notice per 24 housing units), California (one per 31), Georgia (one per 37) and Utah (one per 43). The nation's average was one per 69 housing units, less than one-fourth Nevada's rate.
There were 72,844 housing units, 6.4 percent of Nevada's total, that received foreclosure filings last year. That compared to 1.45 percent of housing units nationwide.
In Las Vegas, one of every 14 housing units received a foreclosure filing, translating to 7.38 percent of its residences. Reno ranked eighth, with foreclosure filings affecting 4.37 percent of its housing units. Ten of the top 20 metro areas for foreclosures were in California.
The foreclosure rate in Nevada could have been far worse if not for a new state law that took effect last fall that requires lenders to go through more hoops before foreclosure actions can be initiated. RealtyTrac reported that the law, Assembly Bill 284, contributed to a 35 percent decline in foreclosure activity in Nevada from the third quarter to the fourth quarter of 2011. That included a 70 percent drop in default notices.