LOS ANGELES (AP) - The foreclosure crisis intensified across a majority of large U.S. metropolitan areas this summer, with Chicago and Seattle - cities outside of the states that have shouldered the worst of the housing downturn - seeing a sharp increase in foreclosure warnings.
California, Nevada, Florida and Arizona remain the nation's foreclosure hotbeds, accounting for 19 of the top 20 metropolitan areas with the highest foreclosure rates between July and September, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.
Those states saw housing values surge during the housing boom years. When the boom ended, values collapsed and foreclosures soared.
But the latest data show that many of the metro areas in those states saw a decline in the number of households receiving foreclosure-related filings, while many cities in other states saw a spike in foreclosure activity.
"The epidemic is spreading from the states at the ground zero of the foreclosure problems out into areas that hadn't been previously affected," said Rick Sharga, a senior vice president at RealtyTrac.
The trend is the latest sign that the nation's foreclosure crisis is worsening as homeowners facing high unemployment, slow job growth and uncertainty about home prices continue to fall behind on their mortgage payments.
Banks have seized more than 816,000 homes through the first nine months of the year and are on pace to seize more than a million.
Preliminary data from this month shows almost no change in foreclosure activity versus September, Sharga said.
"We're not seeing what we might have anticipated in terms of a falloff," he said.
RANK RATIO TOTAL
1 Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev. 1:25 32,288
2 Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla. 1:35 10,352
3 Modesto, Calif. 1:36 4,825
4 Stockton, Calif. 1:39 5,925
5 Merced, Calif. 1:40 2,072
6 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. 1:41 35,863
7 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Fla. 1:41 58,624
8 Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. 1:44 39,199
9 Bakersfield, Calif. 1:44 6,135
10 Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif. 1:45 3,364
11 Orlando-Kissimmee, Fla. 1:47 19,171
12 Reno-Sparks, Nev. 1:50 3,637
13 Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, Calif. 1:50 17,108
14 Boise City-Nampa, Idaho 1:52 4,624
15 Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, Fla. 1:53 4,708
16 Fresno, Calif. 1:58 5,314
17 Visalia-Porterville, Calif. 1:60 2,313
18 Naples-Marco Island, Fla. 1:60 3,237
19 Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Fla. 1:61 4,381
20 Lakeland, Fla.