Foreclosures up 29.3% in Wichita area

Home foreclosures in the Wichita area rose 29.3.percent in 2009 over the year before, according to numbers released Thursday.

According to RealtyTrac, a real estate data tracking firm, there were 2,196 foreclosures in the four-county metro area — Sedgwick, Harvey, Butler and Sumner counties — during 2009, with 2,045 of those in Sedgwick County.

The area's foreclosure rate has risen steadily as the recession has settled in. In a foreclosure report released Thursday by First American CoreLogic, the foreclosure rate rose from less than 1 percent in February to 1.42 percent by November.

Wichita's foreclosure rate is about half the national average because it didn't suffer the rash of subprime loans that higher-growth states did, said Stan Longhofer, director of the Center for Real Estate at Wichita State University.

Wichita's woes are really driven by the recession rather than the housing crisis, he said.

"As the employment situation improves, foreclosures should improve," he said.

In Kansas, there was one foreclosure for every 135 homes, according to RealtyTrac.

That put the state in the middle compared with nearby states. Nebraska was one for every 423 homes; Iowa, one for every 234 homes; Oklahoma, one for every 125 homes; Missouri, one for every 93 homes; Arkansas, one for every 78 homes; Colorado, one for every 42 homes.

Kansas was 36th in the nation. Nevada ranked first with one foreclosure for every 10 homes, and Vermont was best, with one for every 2,178 homes.