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Foreclosures on the rise

BY Brae Canlen

Bad news for the housing market was delivered Aug. 22 by the Mortgage Bankers Association, which reported that the percentage of homeowners who have missed at least one mortgage payment on their homes has risen for the second straight quarter. 

The delinquency rate, which does not include loans in the process of foreclosure, dropped 4.43% at the end of the second quarter, down nine basis points from the first quarter. But the delinquency rate was an improvement from a year ago, when it was 14 basis points lower.

The combined percentage of loans in foreclosure plus those with at least one payment past due was 12.5%, a 23-basis point increase from last quarter, but 143 basis points lower than a year ago. 

"While overall mortgage delinquencies increased only slightly between the first and second quarters of this year, it is clear that the downward trend we saw through most of 2010 has stopped. Mortgage delinquencies are no longer improving and are now showing some signs of worsening," said Jay Brinkmann, MBA’s chief economist. "The good news is the continued decline in long-term delinquencies, those mortgages that are three payments or more past due. The bad news is that drop is offset by an increase in newly delinquent loans one payment past due." 

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Man attempts to steal display items

BY Brae Canlen

A man was arrested in Newark, Del., after police say he unsuccessfully tried to steal tools and copper wire from a display at a Home Depot store.

The Aug. 4 incident began when Martin Goodwin Jr. allegedly attempted to remove rolls of copper wire from a display shelf, which were secured and required the help of an employee. According to a press release issued by the Delaware State Police, Goodwin then proceeded to remove other types of wire that were not secured, as well as assorted tools from a display, and placed them into a shopping cart. He then attempted to exit the store without paying for the merchandise. 

Goodwin was then confronted by three store employees who attempted to detain him. He allegedly produced a box cutter knife and threatened the employees with it, as well as informing the employees that he was armed with a gun. As the employees attempted to disarm Goodwin, one of the workers was cut on his hand. The employees were finally able to subdue the suspect and escorted him to the security office where state police were then contacted. A gun was not located.

After state troopers arrived and began questioning Goodwin, he tried to escape but was apprehended as he exited through a rear door. Further investigation revealed that the suspect had arrived at Home Depot in a stolen Jeep Wrangler, police said. 

Goodwin was arrested and charged with a number of crimes. His bail was set at $107,000.

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Lowe’s authorizes buyback program

BY HBSDealer Staff

Lowe’s board of directors has authorized the repurchase of up to $5 billion of the company’s common stock, along with a quarterly cash dividend of cents ($0.14) per share, payable Nov. 2, 2011, to shareholders of record as of Oct. 19, 2011.

Although this new repurchase program has no expiration date, the company expects to use the full amount over the next two to three years. The repurchases will be subject to market conditions and will be made from time to time either in the open market or through private transactions in accordance with the requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company’s repurchase program may be suspended, discontinued or resumed at any time, according to a Sept. 22 announcement. 

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