Staff and Wire Reports
OKLAHOMA CITY - The number of foreclosures in Oklahoma and across the nation declined from April to May.
Nationally, foreclosure filings fell 6 percent in May from April, according to RealtyTrac Inc. Foreclosures in Oklahoma fell by the same amount in that period.
Oklahoma's housing market fared significantly better than most of the nation, according to RealtyTrac's rankings. Oklahoma ranked 39th in terms of foreclosures.
In Oklahoma, one out of every 1,851 homes faces foreclosure in May, compared to the national rate of one in every 398 homes.
As layoffs, rather than risky mortgages, become the main reason that borrowers default on their home loans, foreclosures likely will remain elevated this year and into 2010. Many economists expect unemployment, now at 9.4 percent nationwide, to rise as high as 10 percent, and some project it will exceed the post-World War II record of 10.8 percent.
The mortgage industry has resumed cracking down on delinquent borrowers after foreclosures were temporarily halted by mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and other lenders.
"It would not be a huge surprise to see the numbers level off a little bit at this point," said Rick Sharga, RealtyTrac's senior vice president for marketing.
Banks repossessed about 65,000 homes in May, up from 64,000 in April, due to big increases in several states including Michigan, Arizona and Nevada.
The Obama administration announced a plan in March to provide $50 billion from the financial industry rescue fund as an incentive for the mortgage industry to modify loans at lower monthly payments.
But the effectiveness of the relief plan remains unclear, with questions lingering about how much the lending industry will cooperate. Many housing counselors say it hasn't made much of a difference so far.
On a state-by-state basis, Nevada had the nation's highest foreclosure rate in May with one every 64 households receiving a filing. California took the No. 2 slot previously occupied by Florida. California's rate was one in every 144 households.
In Florida, one in every 148 households received a foreclosure filing. Rounding out the top 10 were Arizona, Utah, Michigan, Georgia, Colorado, Idaho and Ohio.
Among large cities, Las Vegas led the way with one in every 54 households receiving a filing. Four California metropolitan areas -- Stockton, Modesto, Riverside-San Bernardino and Merced -- were next, followed by Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.; Bakersfield, Calif.; Orlando, Fla.; Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif.; and Miami.