Image: Foreclosed home in Las Vegas
Ethan Miller  /  Getty Images
A “For Sale” sign hangs outside a foreclosed home Nov. 13, 2008 in North Las Vegas, Nevada.
updated 4/22/2009 12:02:48 AM ET 2009-04-22T04:02:48

The 26 U.S. cities with the worst foreclosure problems are concentrated in four states — California, Florida, Arizona and Nevada, a report released Wednesday shows.

The report on foreclosures for the first quarter by RealtyTrac Inc. found the highest foreclosure rates were found in Las Vegas, Merced, Calif. and the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area in Florida. Next on the list were the California metro areas of Stockton, Riverside, Modesto, Bakersfield and Vallejo-Fairfield.

Rounding out the top 10 were Phoenix and Port St. Lucie, Fla. Outside of the four high-foreclosure states, the worst foreclosure rate was in Boise City, Idaho (No. 27) and Greeley, Colo. (No. 29).

The number of American households threatened with losing their homes grew 24 percent in the first three months of this year and is poised to rise further as major lenders restart foreclosures after a temporary break, according to data released Thursday.

Nationwide, nearly 804,000 homes received at least one foreclosure-related notice from January through March, up from about 650,000 in the same period a year earlier.

The big unknown for the coming months is President Barack Obama’s plan to help up to 9 million borrowers avoid foreclosure through refinanced mortgages or modified loans.

The Obama administration expects it to make a big dent in the foreclosure crisis. But it remains to be seen whether the lending industry will fully embrace the efforts, despite a promise of $75 billion in incentive payments.

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