Foreclosures More than Double; Uptick Seen in Durable Goods

The numbers represent a 14 percent jump over the first quarter of 2008, and a 120 percent climb since this time last year.

“Most areas of the country are seeing at least some increase in foreclosure activity,” James Saccadic, CEO of RealtyTrac, told “Forty-eight of 50 states and 95 of the nation’s 100 largest metro areas experienced year-over-year increases in foreclosure activity.

One in every 171 homes was foreclosed on during the quarter, the company said. Many of the worst-hit areas were in the Sun Belt — Nevada led the nation, with one out of every 43 houses in foreclosure. California, Florida, Arizona, Ohio and Michigan were also hit hard.

Falling housing prices mean that many homeowners end up owing more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. And the weak economy is hampering people’s ability to keep up their mortgage payments, analyst Brian Bethune told

“There have been six straight moves of weaker employment this year,” said Bethune, the chief financial economist for Global Insight. “The ongoing problems in the housing market are compounded by a generally weaker economy. Foreclosures won’t go down until we start to see employment move up again.”

Friday did see some brighter economic news, however. Orders for big-ticket durable goods — such as cars, appliances and machinery — were up a surprising 0.8 percent in June. It was the best result since a 1.1 percent rise in February.

Record exports, fueled by a weakening dollar, are making up for slow demand in the U.S., according to Bloomberg News.

“The manufacturing sector is not showing typical recession-like weakness so far,” James O’Sullivan, a senior economist at UBS Securities, told Bloomberg News. “The weight of the evidence still suggests the economy is weakening.”

However, U.S. stocks opened slightly higher Friday bolstered by the news. The Dow Jones industrial average was up a third of a percentage point and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up a quarter of a percentage point.