Las Vegas makes another unwanted top 10 list

Las Vegas has cracked the top 10 list for areas with the highest collateral risk, said Mike Ela, president of California-based

Much like California, Las Vegas shows evidence of over-leveraged buyers caught at the wrong time by rising adustable-rate mortgages and devaluation in residential real estate, he said. Collateral risk is on the rise for Las Vegas though its pace has moderated slightly.

Ela has been publishing the information for nearly three years, warning consumers and investors, time and time again, to be aware of risks along with market values. "Unfortunately, most have chosen to ignore the risk-related warning signs," he said. "People just don’t want to hear about any potential ominous news."

Eastern seaboard communities continue to "bask in the glow" of low-risk areas and have done so for a long time, Ela said. Stability in those areas can be a result of many things such as solid labor opportunities; a propensity of longevity (meaning people don’t move around a lot); and risk-averse community (meaning there may not have been as much real estate speculation).

Conversely, California now has seven of the top 15 most risky areas in the country based on the transaction volume tracked by

"California was rampant with speculators who got caught in the worst possible vise," Ela said. "Many bought at the top of the market with variable rate loans and couldn't afford to make payments when rate increases were triggered. Since they bought with little of no money down, they chose to walk away when the financial pressure became too great."