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Foreclosures spike; Realtor not worried

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Foreclosure filings in Rio Rancho rose significantly last month, up from almost 45 in April 2013 to about 120 in April 2014, and the number of local homes in foreclosure is approaching state and national rates.

RealtyTrac, a real estate information company, reported 528 local homes were in foreclosure in April. With 30,170 detached housing units in Rio Rancho in 2012, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, about one out of every 57 detached homes was in foreclosure last month.

Local Realtor Mark Fiedler cautioned against reading too much into one month's fluctuation. He noted last month's new filings, or when banks file court actions to start the foreclosure process, are only about 25 percent higher than the average for the last 12 months.

CoreLogic, a California data and analytics company, reported for March that 2.3 percent of the state's 586,747 detached housing units, according to 2012 census data, were in foreclosure. The national rate that month was 1.8 percent.

In Rio Rancho last month, the foreclosure inventory rate was 1.8 percent, according to RealtyTrac and census data. In March, the city had 475 homes in foreclosure and a foreclosure inventory rate of 1.6 percent.

Local foreclosure activity is moving in the opposite direction of national and nearby trends. From March to April, foreclosure filings fell 1 percent in Albuquerque and across the country, according to RealtyTrac, but increased 98 percent in Rio Rancho.

Fiedler said the percentage of active listings in the local real estate market that are short sales or bank owned, which he calls distressed properties, fell from 29 percent last April to 18.5 percent this month. The RealtyTrac data shows an increase last month in pre-foreclosures.

With the falling percentage of distressed properties, Fiedler added, the banks might have decided to put some more properties on the local market.

Rio Rancho was the only major city in New Mexico with significantly increased foreclosure activity over the last month. RealtyTrac reported foreclosure filings fell 46 percent in Santa Fe, increased 6 percent in Los Lunas and decreased 7 percent in Las Cruces.

The local foreclosure rate has risen while home prices across the city have continued to fall.

From January to April, the average home sale price in Albuquerque rose from $208,880 to $223,340, while the average price in Rio Rancho fell from $181,393 to $168,636, according to the Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors.

According to, almost 140 homes are in foreclosure in Rio Rancho Central (Multiple Listing Service Region 161), which includes North Hills and Northern Meadows. The average sale price in that region has fallen 26 percent, from $176,728 in 2007 to $131,225 in 2014, according to GAAR data.

Rio Rancho Mid (MLS 150) — which includes Cedar Hills, Rolling Hills, Vista Hills and Western Hills — has nearly 200 homes in foreclosure. Since the Great Recession began, the average sale price there has fallen 13 percent, from $190,268 to $165,393.

Just over 40 homes in Enchanted Hills, part of Rio Rancho North (MLS 160), are experiencing foreclosure. The average sale price in that area has fallen 17 percent over the last seven years, from $241,518 to $199,488.

About 50 homes in Rio Rancho South (MLS 140), which includes the Cabezon neighborhood, are passing through foreclosure. The average sale price in that neighborhood has fallen 22 percent, from $245,565 to $191,681, since 2007.

Banks and other government agencies offer many programs, Fiedler said, to assist people at risk of losing their homes. Those homeowners should seek that assistance as soon as possible. In some cases, they can obtain lower interest rates or a deferment of payments.