Economy Watch: Foreclosures See Strong Uptick in August

Foreclosure filings spiked 7 percent in August compared with July, according to foreclosure specialist RealtyTrac on Thursday. Additionally, the CPI increased.

By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor

Foreclosure filings spiked 7 percent in August compared with July, according to foreclosure specialist RealtyTrac on Thursday. More than 228,000 U.S. properties were in some stage of foreclosure during the month, which by RealtyTrac’s reckoning includes those homeowners enduring default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions.

The company posits that more suffering is to come. “The big increase in new foreclosure actions may be a signal that lenders are starting to push through some of the foreclosures delayed by robo-signing and other documentation problems,” James Saccacio, CEO of RealtyTrac, noted in a statement. “It also foreshadows more bank repossessions in the coming months as these new foreclosures make their way through the process.”

Once more, Nevada posted the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate. The Silver State has had that unfortunate distinction for 56 straight months in a row, and as of August had one in every 118 housing units with a foreclosure filing. Las Vegas led the way statewide—one in every 103 Las Vegas housing units had a foreclosure filing in August, more than five times the national average. It’s all too clear that Vegas gambled in having a housing boom in the early- to mid-2000s, and lost big.

CPI rises in August

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Thursday that the Consumer Price Index increased 0.4 percent in August on a seasonally adjusted basis. As usual, the “non-core” items of gasoline and food drove much of the increase. Without food or energy, consumer prices were up only 0.2 percent month-over-month in August.

Among the core items, shelter and apparel made the largest contribution to August’s CPI uptick, though most of its other major components posted increases too, such used cars and trucks, medical care, household furnishings and operations, recreation, tobacco and personal care. The new vehicles index, unchanged for the second month in a row, was an exception.

Over the last 12 months, the all-items index increased 3.8 percent, but if you take away fuel and food (driving anywhere or eating anything), then the increase year-over-year was only 2 percent. Energy is the main culprit in the annual increase, with the BLS energy index up a whopping 18.4 percent since this time last year. Food—much of which depends on energy for its production—was up 4.6 percent year-over-year.

Obama and Boehner clash over jobs, Trump covets gold

While President Obama is out on a bully-pulpit tour pushing for jobs (and votes in 2012 for himself and other Democrats), House Speaker John Boehner took to his pulpit on Thursday, pushing for the Republican version of a jobs bill (and votes in 2012 for Republican presidential-candidate-to-be-determined and other Republicans). The Speaker’s essential message was that no one should ever have to pay more taxes for anything, ever.

Former not-really-presidential-candidate and all around publicity hound Donald Trump’s latest publicity stunt involved publicizing the fact that he accepted three 32-ounce bars of gold from precious metals dealer Apmex as a security deposit for a lease at Trump’s 40 Wall Street skyscraper. Trump reportedly said something about gold being a universal monetary standard, but he’s also known for his long-standing penchant for shiny objects.

Wall Street had another good day on Thursday, perhaps reassured by the world’s central banks saying they’ll take steps to make sure that European banks don’t run out of cash in the immediate future. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 186.45 points, or 1.66 percent, while the S&P 500 was up 1.72 percent and the Nasdaq advanced 1.34 percent.

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