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Foreclosures soaring in Utah

By , | Posted - Aug. 14, 2008 at 7:26 a.m.



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Team coverageForeclosures are soaring in Utah, up 27 percent from June to July and 294 percent from a year ago.

Utah's metropolitan areas all rank in the top 100 for foreclosures. St. George is highest at 17th.

A new national study ranks Utah ninth in the nation for having the highest foreclosures. The state actually saw one foreclosure filing for every 472 households. Wells Fargo economist Kelly Matthews says, "We've gone from approximately 1,300 up to 1,900 in a matter of two or three months."

Matthews says we have not hit the bottom yet, but there is some good news: Sales numbers are beginning to increase. He adds that you can't have an annual 20 percent increase in home prices along the Wasatch Front without some folks feeling the pain.

The Salt Lake Board of Realtors President Jillinda Bowers doesn't believe it's that bad. She says, "I believe that it looks different than it looked two years ago, but I am still in belief that the foreclosure rate isn't out of hand here."

The group says the reported increase by Realty-Trac includes many homes in default status, which means they are only 30 days late on payments. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, 99 percent of Utah loans are not in foreclosure.

Real estate experts say if there are too many foreclosed, deteriorating homes in your neighborhood, it can hurt your property values.

Economists warn this may not be the end; the foreclosure rate could rise through the end of the year.

Things aren't better for Utah's renters, either. Rent has gone up 9.2 percent in the past year in Salt Lake County. That's on top of an 8.8 percent increase last year and a more than 5 percent increase the year before. A west-side studio apartment will now run you about $520 per month.

Realtors say increased demand can be blamed on rising food and fuel costs.

The state that ranked the highest in foreclosures was Nevada, with one foreclosure for every 106 households.

E-mail: aadams@ksl.com
E-mail: athomas@ksl.com

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