Oahu 127th in foreclosures
by Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer
Foreclosure troubles continued to grow substantially last year in Honolulu, but the state's most populous county still had a lower foreclosure rate than 126 other major U.S. metropolitan areas, according to a national report.
Honolulu County, or O'ahu, had 3,985 properties that were involved in a foreclosure action last year, according to real estate research firm RealtyTrac.
The total represented 1.19 percent of all Honolulu homes, which put the county in a tie for 127th place with Montgomery, Ala.
The average among 203 of the largest metro markets included in the study was higher than Honolulu's rate, at 2.21 percent of homes.
Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev., had the worst foreclosure rate with 12 percent of its housing market facing foreclosure last year. Two other metro areas had rates over 10 percent — Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., at 11.9 percent, and Merced, Calif., at 10.1 percent.
Two markets — Burlington-South Burlington, Vt., and Utica-Rome, N.Y. — tied for the lowest foreclosure rate at 0.05 percent.
Though Honolulu's ranking remained in the better half of the study, it slipped from 198th position at the end of 2008, when 197 other metro areas had worse foreclosure rates. Last year, the number of properties facing foreclosure in Honolulu rose 142 percent from 1,647 properties the year before.
RealtyTrac studied metro areas with populations of at least 200,000. But because the company's data don't exclude commercial property, the report isn't an exact measure of foreclosures in the residential market and probably inflates Honolulu's count because of the sizable number of condotels and timeshare units that have faced foreclosure.
In its report, RealtyTrac counted properties with at least one foreclosure filing during the year. Foreclosure filings include default notices, trustee sale notices and repossession purchases by lenders.
Not every filing results in a foreclosure sale, but RealtyTrac's count gives an idea of how many property owners were threatened with the loss of their property.