Foreclosure starts fall to six-year low in January
RealtyTrac’s U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for January shows foreclosure filings at 150,864 for January, down 7% from the prior month and down 28% from January 2012.
The rate is at its lowest point since June 2006.
The slowdown comes as a California law called the Homeowners Bill of Rights kicks in. According to Daren Blomquist, VP at RealtyTrac, the legislation “extends many of the principles in the national mortgage settlement — including a prohibition on so-called dual tracking and requiring a single point of contact for borrowers facing foreclosure — to all mortgage servicers operating in California. In addition, the new law imposes fines of up to $7,500 per loan for filing of multiple unverified foreclosure documents. As a result, the downward foreclosure trend in California accelerated into hyper speed in January, decisively shifting the balance of power when it comes to the nation’s foreclosure activity.”
On the other side of the country, Florida posted the highest state foreclosure rate for the fifth straight month. Florida foreclosure starts increased 12% to 29,800 in January.
The full report can be seen here.
Valentine’s Day special: CEO married to CEO
While their two companies are in different fields, John Lundgren and his wife Tamara Lundgren both carry the tile CEO — John of Stanley Black & Decker, Tamara of Schnitzer Steel.
Both executives appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box on Valentine’s Day to talk about their businesses.
There is no overlap between the two businesses, the Lundgrens said, but there is emotional support through the ups and downs of industry.
For Stanley Works, which relies heavily on construction activity, housing permits are up 3.6% to 900,000, he said, the best since 2008. “But that’s half of what they wee at the peak,” Lundgren said. “While there’s some green shoots, we’re not planning on any help from the macro-economic environment, and we’re undertaking a lot of organic growth initiatives on our own.”
Lundgren pointed to a couple of new products gaining consumer interest — the Black & Decker Gyro motion-activated screwdriver and the Matrix quick connect system.
The married CEOs said they make time to see each other on Friday nights.
An index is born for the rental industry
The American Rental Association (ARA) has unveiled a new ARA Equipment Rental Penetration Index, which is being introduced at The Rental Show 2013 in Las Vegas.
“The ARA Equipment Rental Penetration Index is the association’s latest resource to help rental store owners and managers, manufacturers, and industry analysts and investors better understand the potential of the rental channel and its long-term prospects,” said Michael Kneeland, CEO of United Rentals, Greenwich, Conn.
At the request of ARA members, Moline, Ill.-based ARA convened a workgroup in September 2012 to develop a plan of work for estimating an appropriate measure of equipment rental penetration for the equipment rental industry. The new index was created with the research firm IHS Global Insight.
“The basic concept of the ARA Equipment Rental Penetration Index is to measure the amount of equipment that is rented as a percentage of total construction equipment,” said Christine Wehrman, ARA’s executive VP and CEO.
ARA used the index to analyze results covering 2003-2011, which shows rental penetration for construction machines was in the range of 40% at the beginning of the analysis to just above 50% in 2010 and 2011. The result is consistent with the expectation that in recent years the size of the rental fleet has increased relative to the construction fleet.
“Rental firms tend to measure their performance on a cost basis and the most often used cost base for rental equipment is original equipment cost (OEC),” said John McClelland, Ph.D., ARA’s VP government affairs, who helped lead ARA’s rental penetration index workgroup. “The OEC-weighted approach allows the ability to derive several components of the equipment rental penetration calculation using well-established data and techniques."