Given its small population and economy, South Dakota often doesn't mirror national trends. In the case of housing markets of late, thank goodness.
In the midst of rising home foreclosures nationwide, South Dakota had the third-best rate even after adjusting for population. The state's quarterly average of one foreclosure for every 4,300 households is roughly 85 percent lower than the national average, according to RealtyTrac, a private firm that tracks foreclosures.
It hasn't been painless for the state: First-quarter rates have crept up almost 20 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2006. But compared to one year ago, the state's foreclosure rate is down about 1 percent—a sharp contrast to the 35 percent increase in foreclosures nationwide over the same period.
Virtually all of the state's foreclosures in the month of March—29 of 32—occurred in Minnehaha County, home to the state's largest housing market, Sioux Falls. Though new home construction fell 11 percent in 2006, that comes after several consecutive years of record-breaking activity. Also notable, the broader Sioux Falls region, including its suburbs, saw a slight increase in total home sales last year, in stark contrast to most metro areas.
—Ronald A. Wirtz