According to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, the month of April saw nearly 3,000 residential properties in Cook County scheduled for foreclosure auctions. This is the highest number of foreclosure auctions the county has seen since August 2010. According to experts, these numbers suggest real estate market recovery and a promise of Chicago neighborhood revitalization.
While we’ve seen news about the real estate market slowly bouncing back from the housing crisis, there are still many homeowners in Illinois who are facing foreclosure. If you’re a homeowner and you’re currently at risk of foreclosure, experienced foreclosure defense attorneys can advocate on your behalf.
RealtyTrac Data on Residential Foreclosures in the Chicago Area
The numbers reported in the Chicago Tribune come from a set of data collected by RealtyTrac. Its report shows 2,945 scheduled residential auctions in Cook County in April of this year, a number that has risen considerably since 2012. In fact, around the same time last year, March 2012 had 1,563 foreclosure auctions, and April 2012 had 1,844.
RealtyTrac considers this good news. Although all of the properties likely won’t “complete the auction process,” the high number of auctions still suggests that the local housing market is continuing its recovery streak. In fact, the overall number of properties in foreclosure in and around the Chicago area has fallen considerably since last year—the numbers are down 23 percent since April 2012.
Daren Blomquist, a RealtyTrac vice president, said that, “for Illinois as a whole, we’ve now seen seven straight months where foreclosure starts are down from a year ago.” He emphasized that “that’s a good sign,” as it means that there are “fewer properties being added.” In other words, the higher number of foreclosure auctions doesn’t mean that more foreclosures are being initiated. Rather, many of the previous foreclosures that had been tied up in court and in paperwork are now finding their way onto the market.
More People Buying Vacant Properties, Revitalizing Neighborhoods
What does all this mean? In short, it means that more people in Cook County are buying houses. More foreclosure auctions means that there are likely more buyers out there. And this trend isn’t just in Illinois. In the case of Chicago, “the local data mirror a national trend,” especially in states like Illinois where local courts handle foreclosures.
A Chicago sales company that handles foreclosure sales has had more than 50 properties on its auction calendar per week this past month. At the same time, however, the local real estate market does face the problem of homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than those properties are worth. These seriously underwater homeowners make up about 35 percent of all homeowners in the Chicago area.
Nonetheless, the number of homes listed through foreclosure auctions suggests that neighborhood revitalization may have promise in the coming months. Earlier this year, Katie Buitrago, a senior policy and communications associate at the Woodstock Institute, indicated that increases in foreclosure auctions might help to turn around the vacant properties that seem to be plaguing many Chicago communities. Buitrago said that the city has “been having a lot of trouble . . . with vacant properties that have been languishing for years. The longer they’re vacant, the more likely they are to be a destabilizing force in their communities.”
The real estate market can be confusing in the wake of the mortgage crisis. If you have questions about buying a foreclosure, or if you are concerned that you may be at risk of foreclosure, a licensed attorney can discuss your case with you today.
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