Honolulu foreclosures rising


POSTED: Wednesday, October 28, 2009

While Honolulu was not among the new foreclosure hot spots that emerged in the third quarter, cities favored by Hawaii expatriates and those that supply much of the state's visitor traffic saw big increases.

Honolulu's foreclosure rate of one filing per every 282 households was ranked No. 133 out of 203 metros, according to the latest report released today from RealtyTrac, an online foreclosure marketplace.

“;Honolulu is right in the middle of the pack, but we've seen the numbers coming up,”; said Daren Blomquist, marketing manager for RealtyTrac.

Honolulu ranked No. 136 in the previous quarter and No. 156 in the year-ago quarter, and it hovered around No. 180 for most of 2007, Blomquist said.

“;Even though Hawaii may have been insulated from the first wave of foreclosures, the worsening economy will cause more foreclosures as more people lose their jobs,”; he said.

Honolulu posted 1,186 foreclosure filings during the third quarter, which ended in September, RealtyTrac said. The number of foreclosures, which represented less than 1 percent of Honolulu households, rose 24.8 percent from the previous quarter and 85.9 percent from the year-ago quarter, the company reported.

“;Rising unemployment and a new variety of mortgage resets continued to gradually shift the nation's foreclosure epicenters in the third quarter away from the hot spots of the last two years and toward some metro areas that had avoided the brunt of the first foreclosure wave,”; said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac.

While toxic subprime mortgages drove much of that first wave of foreclosures, high unemployment and exotic Alt-A Option ARMs are spreading the foreclosure flood to more metro areas in 2009, Saccacio said.

Still, Honolulu's foreclosure footprint remains low compared with cities like Las Vegas, which posted the nation's highest metro foreclosure rate. One in every 20 housing units in Vegas received a filing during the third quarter, pushing the number of foreclosures to 40,408.

Merced, Calif., posted the nation's second-highest foreclosure rate, and RealtyTrac also listed the California cities of Stockton, Modesto, Riverside-San Bernardino, Bakersfield and Vallejo-Fairfield among the top 10 metros.

“;It makes a lot of sense that in different ways we are seeing the foreclosure problem spread out from those original hot spots to other areas like Hawaii that might rely on those markets for their tourism,”; Blomquist said. “;But another reason for the rippling out is unemployment in general, which impacts areas that precipitated the boom and boost markets.”;