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January foreclosures up 57 percent

BY HBSDEALER Staff

January foreclosures rose 57 percent compared with the same period last year, but the numbers were termed “relatively meek” by RealtyTrac, the research firm that tracks monthly foreclosure statistics.

The 233,001 foreclosures “do not appear to represent the massive wave of foreclosures that is expected to hit,” the group said. The group noted it is unclear whether the lower-than-expected numbers were due to “increasingly proactive lenders and government intervention” or “if they just represent the first few raindrops of what will prove to be a violent thunderstorm.” The Foreclosure Market Report tracks foreclosure filings — including default notices, auction sales notices and bank repossessions.

As expected, Nevada, California and Florida topped the list with the highest foreclosure rates. Nevada reported 6,087 properties under foreclosure in January, a 45 percent decrease from the previous month but still a 95 percent increase from January of last year.

California’s January foreclosure rate ranked second highest among the states, and Florida’s January foreclosure rate ranked third highest, according to RealtyTrac. Other states with foreclosure rates ranking among the top 10 were Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, Georgia, Connecticut, Ohio and Michigan.

Some states saw foreclosures fall compared with the year-ago period, including Alabama (down 11.57 percent); Iowa (down 18.28 percent); Nebraska (down 23.8 percent); and Kentucky (down 39.7 percent).

California, Florida and Texas reported the highest total foreclosures, based primarily on the population size of those states. Foreclosure filings were reported on a total of 57,158 properties in California in January, the most of any state. The state’s foreclosure activity was up 7 percent from the previous month and up 120 percent from January 2007.

California and Florida metro areas accounted for eight of the top 10 metro foreclosure rates in January. The Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., metro area documented the highest January foreclosure rate among the 229 metro areas tracked in the report.

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IKEA to expand presence in Poland

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Polish developer Inter IKEA Centre Polska — part of the IKEA group — will soon begin construction on a large shopping center in Lodz, Poland, according to a report in the Warsaw Business Journal.

Called Port Lodz, the 127,000-square-foot shopping center is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2009 and will represent the Swedish retailer’s seventh property in Poland.

The new shopping center — anchored by a 33,000-square-foot IKEA store — will also house more than 270 stores and service shops.

“Port Lodz will be a unique project,” Renata Burejza, public relations and marketing manager at Inter IKEA Centre Polska, told the newspaper. “Unlike the rest of our centers in Poland, it will not be a retail park but rather a more traditional shopping center in which the whole retail space is contained in a single building.”

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Home sales slide in January

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Existing-home sales — including single-family, townhouses, condos and apartment buildings — declined 0.4 percent last month, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million units in January from a level of 4.91 million in December, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The results are 23.4 percent below the 6.44 million-unit pace set in January 2007.

Single-family home sales decreased 0.5 percent, while existing multi-family housing units fell 6.5 percent from the previous year.

The national existing-home price median for all housing types was $201,100, a 4.6 percent drop from a year ago.

Total housing inventory rose 5.5 percent at the end of January to 4.19 million existing homes for sale, representing a 10.3-month supply at the current sales pace.

Regionally, sales of existing homes in the Northeast fell 3.6 percent in January, with the West experiencing the second largest drop at 2.1 percent. Sales in the South slipped 0.5 percent last month. However, the Midwest saw sales of existing homes rise 3.4 percent in January 2007 compared to last year.

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