Economy Watch – Foreclosures Trend Upward in Usual Places
- Oct 16, 2009
By: Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor
More than 925,000 U.S. homeowners received a foreclosure notice of some kind — a default notice, scheduled auction or bank repossession — during the third quarter of 2009, according to RealtyTrac, a figure that represents a 5 percent increase over the second quarter and a 23 percent increase over 3Q08. One in every 136 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing during the quarter, which was the highest quarterly foreclosure rate since the company began issuing its report in the first quarter of 2005 — though admittedly, that was during the run up to the bubble peak.
“[Bank repossessions] increased from the previous quarter in all but two states and the District of Columbia, indicating that lenders may be starting to work through some of the pent-up foreclosure inventory caused by legislative delays, loan modification efforts and high volumes of distressed properties,” noted James J. Saccacio, CEO of Realty Trac, in a statement.
Nevada continues to be the poster child for repossession, with one in 23 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing during 3Q09, an increase of almost 10 percent from the second quarter. Other high-repo states during 3Q09 include the usual suspects–California, Arizona, Florida and Michigan—as well as a few lesser-known foci of housing misery, such as Idaho, Utah, Georgia and Colorado.
Inflation Turns in Wimpy Numbers
According to the U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday, consumer prices were up a measly 0.2 percent in September, compared with a 0.4 percent rise in August, which itself was no great shakes. As of September, prices have fallen 1.3 percent year-over-year; as of August, the decline was 1.5 percent. It looks like neither deflation nor inflation (or its ’70s cousin, stagflation) will be vexing an already sorely vexed economy for the time being at least.
Energy prices were up, some 0.6 percent. mostly on account of gasoline, which is always a wild card in the CPI. But a lot of other goods, such as food, were down. Even rents jumped on the deflation bandwagon for the first time in 17 years as renters double up with friends, move back in with their parents or in unfortunate cases, join the newly homeless.
Business inventors are near record lows as well, the result of businesses being leery when it comes to stocking goods that consumers might not buy. During September, business inventories dropped 1.5 percent, the largest decline since the U.S. Department of Commerce started tracking that kind of data 17 years ago. Then again, cash-for-clunkers was part of that drop, as buyers drove away with subsidized auto purchases, thus reducing car-dealer inventories.
After scaling the heights of 10,000, Wall Street had a tepid day on Thursday, eventually turning in modest gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 47.08 points, or 0.47 percent, while the S&P 500 was up 0.42 percent and the Nasdaq eked out a 0.05 percent gain.