RealtyTrac Says Foreclosures Up During Third Quarter

RealtyTrac, which tracks the nationwide residential foreclosure market, said on Thursday that all variety of foreclosure filings—default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions—increased during the third quarter of 2010 by 4 percent compared with the previous quarter, to a total of 930,437 properties all together.

October 15, 2010
By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor

Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons user respres

RealtyTrac, which tracks the nationwide residential foreclosure market, said on Thursday that all variety of foreclosure filings—default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions—increased during the third quarter of 2010 by 4 percent compared with the previous quarter, to a total of 930,437 properties all together. That is 1 percent less than during the third quarter of 2009, however.

During the month of September, that is, which was on the eve of the robo-signing crisis, actual bank repossessions were running hot and heavy. Banks repo’d more than 102,000 properties nationwide during the month, a record for any month, and the first time that residential repos exceeded 100,000, according to RealtyTrac.

Nevada still leads the pack in foreclosures, as it has for more than a year. One in every 29 Nevada housing units received a foreclosure filing during the third quarter, almost five times the national average. Nevada foreclosure activity increased nearly 1 percent compared with 2Q10, but was down nearly 20 percent from the 3Q09.

All very interesting, but the real question is what now? A passing cloudburst or a hurricane of foreclosure-related legal action tying up the market?

“If the lenders can resolve the documentation issue quickly, then we would expect the temporary lull in foreclosure activity to be followed by a parallel spike in activity as many of the delayed foreclosures move forward,” James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, noted in a statement on Thursday. “If the documentation issue cannot be quickly resolved and expands to more lenders, we see a chilling effect on the overall housing market as sales of pre-foreclosure and foreclosed properties, which account for nearly one-third of all sales, dry up and the shadow inventory of distressed properties grows.”

Walmart Goes After Dollar Store Business

It turns out that in some parts of the country, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. isn’t quite the lord of all it surveys. Especially after the advent of the Great Recession, the dollar-store segment has been tunneling its way into the behemoth retailer’s market share by offering something that Wal-Marts generally can’t: a smaller floor plan that offers a simpler selection.

Now the company is planning to open “dozens” or even “hundreds” of smaller stores in various parts of the country to take the retail battle directly to the dollar stores, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday. The company was not willing to tell the newspaper exactly which markets it plans to enter, though the paper speculated that smaller venues might be a way for Wal-Mart to crack New York City, which has long been resistant to the brand for a variety of reasons.

Coincidentally, or maybe not, the retailer also announced on Thursday that it’s ramping up efforts to source produce locally, as well as pursue other green practices. Namely, the company plans to sell $1 billion in food sourced from a million small- and medium-sized farms annually, double its sale of locally sourced produce in the United States, and provide training to a million farmers and workers in sustainable farming practices.

Wall Street had a modest down day on Thursday after a week of advances. Investors in bank stocks, it seems, are a mite nervous these days, with various billion-dollar estimates of the cost of the robo-signing crisis floating around. Still, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down only 1.51 points, or a microscopic 0.01 percent, while the S&P 500 lost 0.36 percent and the Nasdaq declined 0.24 percent.