Nevada's Fall in Foreclosures Leads to Smaller Inventory

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RENO, NV - For the first time in five years, Nevada no longer leads the nation in foreclosures. We're now ranked second, right behind Arizona. But it's not necessarily because the economy is improving here.

There's a lot of buzz about the new homes being built in Northwest Reno, right by McQueen High School. That's because we haven't seen too much home construction since the state started racking up foreclosures. But these days, that number has been going down.

"200 to 300 homes a month not coming to foreclosure," says Kevin Sigstad, president of the Reno-Sparks Association of Realtors.

Experts say it's because of a new law that went into place last October.

"That changed the requirements of how banks could foreclose on homes," says Sigstad. "It raised the bar so high, most of the banks have not been able to comply. So they have not been able to start foreclosures."

That's led to fewer homes on the market, since foreclosures typically make up 15 to 20 percent of homes for sale here.

"So now we're sort of in a shortage of homes," says Sigstad, who is also a broker at Remax Premier Properties in Reno. "Normally our office would have 80 to 100 homes listed. Currently we have less than 20."

Experts say we will see more construction because the demand to buy is there.

"There's definitely some competition in the entry level market. You see a lot of new home building going on. And you're definitely seeing some promising signs right now," says Mike Dillon, executive director of the Builders Association of Northern Nevada.

"I see it being a boon for homebuilders - which then starts employment which then feeds the economy. And it really should be the start of a very good year," says Sigstad.

RealtyTrac data shows that one in every 301 housing units in Nevada had a foreclosure filing during the month of March.