Nevada ranks third in the nation in home foreclosures

Nevada slashed its foreclosure rate in February, but the state still saw above-average default activity.

The Silver State ranked No. 3 in the nation for homes in foreclosure, with one in every 633 homes somewhere in the process in February, according to a Wednesday report from California research firm RealtyTrac. Only Florida, where one in 372 homes was in foreclosure, and Maryland, where the number was one in 557 homes, ranked higher.

Nationally, the rate is one in every 1,170 homes.

Nevada’s foreclosure rate fell 49.1 percent year-over-year in February, and 15.8 percent from January to February.

The state’s number of foreclosure starts fell to 426 units, up 50 percent from January but down 78.7 percent from February 2013. Foreclosure completions, which happen when the bank sells the home, ticked up 1.1 percent month-to-month, but declined 27.1 percent year-to-year, to 549 units.

RealtyTrac’s report also looked at what the company called “zombie foreclosures,” or foreclosed homes that have been abandoned.

Nevada saw a big jump in owner-vacated foreclosures in February, with a 21 percent year-to-year gain that ranked No. 3 in the nation. The state also ranked No. 4 for its average time in default for owner-vacated foreclosures, at 1,055 days. Arkansas ranked No. 1, at 1,128 days.

Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac, said zombie foreclosures are worse than owner-occupied foreclosures because vacant properties “drag down home values in the surrounding neighborhood and contribute to a climate of uncertainty and low inventory in local housing markets.”

Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at jrobison@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4512. Follow @J_Robison1 on Twitter.