Our Oak Park foreclosure defense attorneys have closely monitored the housing market troubles since the beginning and watched with concern when the housing bubble burst in 2008. We realize that it is vital for lawyers to understand the various factors that continue to affect the housing market.
Recently, the National Association of Realtors stated that U.S. home prices fell in three-quarters of all metropolitan areas in the third quarter of 2011. PressTV.com reports that the median price of homes in the U.S. was down 4.7% in the third quarter of 2011, compared to the same period in 2010.
According to an article in Medill Reports, Illinois third-quarter home sales are up 19.9% from a year ago. Illinois is one of the top five states that accounted for more than half of the nation’s total foreclosure activity in 2010. In Illinois, mortgage loan applications also have surged, boosted by low interest rates, which have fueled a refinancing demand. A homeowner might choose to refinance for a number of reasons, including to take advantage of a lower interest rate or to reduce a monthly repayment amount.
The Chicago Tribune recently reported that fewer homeowners are defaulting on their mortgages, which is a positive sign, but that foreclosures are expected to increase. Many economists have suggested it will take years to return to a typical pattern of delinquencies and foreclosures. For example, Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance, believes it will take at least two more years to resolve the crisis. The pace of improvement is dependent upon how fast banks can clear out defaulted mortgages and foreclosed properties, said Mr. Cecala.
It is good news that many homeowners are currently able to keep up with their mortgage payments. It could be a sign that the economy is improving. Low housing prices also could encourage hesitant or first-time buyers, especially as the economy slowly starts to improve.
However, the massive backlog of foreclosed homes has meant that the housing market has been improving sluggishly, if at all. That backlog has remained high in part due to alleged robo-signing. Lenders halted or slowed foreclosure proceedings for much of 2011 when it was revealed in 2010 that mishandled or fraudulent paperwork had been filed in many cases. Fraudulent mortgage foreclosure practices, such as alleged robo-signing, were a huge setback in the housing crisis.
Lingering unemployment—currently at approximately 9% nationally—also has thwarted improvements in the housing market. Despite low housing prices, many prospective buyers may be reluctant to commit to a mortgage when the future remains uncertain. Thus, even though it is a buyer’s market and sellers are struggling, concern regarding economic uncertainty may be discouraging those looking to make new investments.
You can be confident that the lawyers at the Emerson Firm are up to date on Chicago foreclosure law and understand the various fluctuations in the housing market. If you are concerned that you may lose your home in a foreclosure action and you live in the Chicago area, you are not alone because there are many legal options available to you. Our Chicago foreclosure defense lawyers work with homeowners to best meet their needs, including defending them in foreclosure suits or by helping them use loss mitigation strategies where appropriate, such as loan modification or bankruptcy. Illinois foreclosure law is changing all the time, so it is essential for Chicagoland residents to be aware of all the resources available to them. Please consider contacting the Emerson Law Firm for a consultation today.
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