Foreclosure rate: One in every 136 homes
Percent increase: 101%
National rank: 161st
Unemployment rate: 4.9%
On the whole, South Dakota has been touched only mildly by the recession, according to Ralph Brown, an economist with the University of South Dakota.
"We're coming off very good farm years in 2007 and 2008," he said, "and we never had the housing bubble or subprime mortgages so we didn't have the same drop in construction activity."
Like many metro areas on the Great Plains, Sioux Falls boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, just 4.9%, but that nearly doubled over the 12 months ended in November from a microscopic 2.9%.
Most of the spike in foreclosures, more than 11,000% over the past two years and more than double in 2009 compared with 2008, can be traced to the job losses.
The economy in the area has generally been good, according to Todd Headrick, president of the Realtor Association of the Sioux Empire.
"We've experienced some sluggishness along with the national economy," he said. "But home sales were up last year."
He traced the foreclosure spike more to the lax lending standards of the housing boom days. As long as the economy was humming, the less than ideally qualified borrowers were able to keep current on their loans but job losses turned many of the mortgages delinquent.
The percentage increase, however, is so outsized because it's based on very low foreclosure figures in 2007. Even after the huge run-up, percentage-wise, Sioux Falls had a total of just 671 properties with filings in 2009, one for every 136 properties. That's about a third the national rate and puts it in the bottom quarter of U.S. cities.
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