For the first time in nearly a year, Nevada landed back in the nation’s top spot for home foreclosures.
New numbers from California research firm RealtyTrac ranked the Silver State No. 1 for default-related activity in August, thanks in part to a 233 percent surge in bank repossessions. Foreclosure activity was up 4 percent statewide.
The last time Nevada topped the delinquency list was in September 2014.
One in every 507 homes in Nevada was in some stage of foreclosure, compared with one in 1,205 homes nationwide.
Among metro areas, Las Vegas ranked No. 9 for foreclosure activity, with one in 565 units in default.
But notices of default, which start the foreclosure process, fell 14 percent across Nevada, to 1,217 filings in August. Observers say Nevada may have as many as 40,000 vacant units awaiting foreclosure, so it will take years at current foreclosure-start rates to get through that inventory.
Lenders have yet to return to anything approaching the 4,000 starts a month that they averaged in 2011, before a series of changes to state laws made it more difficult to foreclose.
But the falling starts may also indicate an improving market: The share of local homeowners who owed 25 percent or more on a mortgage than their home was worth has fallen from a peak of 75 percent in 2012 to 25 percent now, according to RealtyTrac numbers released earlier in the summer.
That means tens of thousands of households that faced foreclosure in the downturn could now arrange an equity or break-even sale, or a short sale in which the bank agrees to let the home sell for less than what’s owed.
Construction hiring slows
Gains in building jobs moderated in August, though the construction sector still led Nevada in job-growth percentage.
New numbers from the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation showed a statewide construction job-formation rate of 7.5 percent year over year in August. That’s down noticeably from the double-digit job increases the sector has averaged for more than a year.
Still, it was enough to rank first in share gained among Nevada’s 10 employment “supersectors.”
Leisure and hospitality, the state’s biggest jobs sector, grew by 4.4 percent. Education and health services expanded by 5.6 percent. Professional and business services added 3.5 percent.
But unlike other sectors, many of which have reached or surpassed pre-recession job counts, construction remains well below peak employment. Nevada’s building-related employers had nearly 150,000 employees in 2006. That total was 70,500 in August. Employment bottomed out at about 44,000 in the downturn.
Nationally, 36 states added construction jobs year over year in August.
California’s building employers posted a 6.5 percent growth rate. Other states easily beat Nevada’s growth rate, including Arkansas (13.6 percent); Idaho (10 percent); South Carolina (9.1 percent); and Iowa (8.9 percent).
The brisk hiring could slow in coming months, as builders nationwide and in Nevada report trouble finding qualified workers, said Stephen Sandherr, CEO of trade group Associated General Contractors of America.
Downtown master plan
An initiative to redraw downtown Las Vegas’ master plan is at its halfway point, and organizers are asking for additional public input.
City leaders and consultants with architecture and planning firm RTKL will hold two public outreach events on Oct. 1 at Historic Fifth Street School, 401 S. 4th St.
The groups will solicit feedback on an updated downtown master plan to facilitate the physical, social and economic development of the city’s center over the next 20 years.
The groups will share the results of an economic market study, and share proposed downtown visions.
The city and its consultants are in the middle of an 18-month “City by Design” process that included more than 100 interviews with downtown stakeholders, as well as public-outreach meetings in January and May.
The meetings on Oct. 1 are scheduled for 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Attendance is free and open to valley residents over 18.
The groups are also taking online feedback at visionlv.com.
Realtors pick Tina
A local Realtor will lead the Nevada Association of Realtors in 2016.
The association said on Sept. 18 that its directors elected David R. Tina of Urban Nest Realty in Las Vegas its 2016 president.
Other officers are Greg Martin of Elko, president-elect; Mark Ashworth of Reno, vice president, and Leroy “Buck” Schaeffel of Mesquite, treasurer. The immediate past president is Kevin Sigstad of Reno.
Tina and his fellow officers will be installed Dec. 11 at the association’s annual meeting in Las Vegas. Their terms begin Jan. 1.
Tina is also a past president of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.
Nevada Title Co. and its Nevada Construction Services affiliate recently provided a helping hand to local school children.
The companies delivered school supplies to Ira Earl Elementary School on Sept. 18. Through community and employee donations, they collected hundreds of items including backpacks, paper, erasers, pencils, binders and crayons. They also donated travel-sized toiletries such as toothpaste, shampoo and lotion.
The companies’ participation was part of their 16-year partnership with the Clark County School District’s Focus School Project, which matches public schools with businesses and agencies to bring needed resources to students.