Housing front

The local housing news continues to depress. On Thursday, RealtyTrac Inc. announced that in the most recent quarter Nevada once again led the nation in foreclosure sales, with an astonishing 65 percent of all transactions involving a home in foreclosure.

Nationwide, the number was 31 percent. Arizona was at 57 percent and California remained steady at 51 percent.

The Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors put the number locally at 45 percent, but that figure does not include short sales in which the houses aren’t technically bank-owned, even though a notice of default has been filed.

To get a perspective on how bad things are — as if we don’t already know– during normal economic times, properties in foreclosure would represent about 5 percent of all transactions.

Some might cheer the fact that the second quarter (April-June) numbers in Nevada were actually down from the same period in 2010. But then again, so were all types of sales.

In fact, the quicker the local market hits bottom — and as long as a glut of foreclosed homes remains available, we’re not there yet — the quicker a recovery will begin. Policymakers should be focused primarily on encouraging the banks to get on with the process and reduce their inventories of foreclosed properties as expeditiously as possible.

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