Over the last year, the total number of Illinois home foreclosures has declined noticeably. Yet as the volume of foreclosures dropped, the amount of time for each foreclosure rose significantly, according to a recent article Crain’s Chicago Business. Indeed, “the average time it took lenders to foreclose on a home in the state climbed to a new high of 889 days,” which was up from 828 days in 2013. What’s going on? And what will the average foreclosure time in Illinois look like in 2015?
Foreclosure Times Rising Across the Country
Illinois isn’t alone in facing lengthier foreclosure times. To be sure, foreclosure times are on the rise across the country, although Illinois has the fifth-highest time between notice of default and repossession. Just how long is 889 days? To put it in perspective, that’s almost two and a half years. The average across the country was 615 days, which is a little under two years’ time. The only states with higher foreclosure times than Illinois include New Jersey, Florida, Hawaii, and New York.
Why are foreclosure times rising if the total number of foreclosures are falling? When looking at the numbers alone, the phenomenon doesn’t make a lot of sense. Traditional thinking tells us that high foreclosure times are an effect of clogged courts. And if courts have fewer foreclosures to handle, logic tells us that there should be a shorter number of days between the start and completion of a foreclosure. In addition, the “fast-track” laws that exist in a number of states—including Illinois—are aimed at speeding up this process even more. So what’s the delay?
Abandoned Homes and Fast-Tracking
According to Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Collins, who sponsored the “fast-track” legislation, the primary problem is that foreclosures in hard-hit communities just aren’t ready for the market. Certain communities, especially in the Chicago area, still have “too many boarded-up homes in foreclosure.” Collins explained that, despite ability for the courts to fast-track foreclosures, the Illinois housing market just isn’t seeing an improvement “in hard-pressed communities.”
The fast-track legislation, which took effect in June of 2013, has helped city across Illinois to “get abandoned residential properties back into use and provide help to homeowners at risk of foreclosure.” Yet that legislation just hasn’t made a significant impact in lower-income areas. Collins emphasized that the legislation may need some “tweaking,” as lenders could potentially use to “only to take back abandoned homes in stronger markets.”
Foreclosure Approval Requirements
While many commentators believe that abandoned properties in hard-hit Illinois areas are to blame for the lengthy time period for foreclosures, others believe that new requirements for lenders may be playing a role. In 2013, the Illinois Supreme Court designed new requirements that lenders must meet in order to have a judge approve a foreclosure. The rules were aimed at ensuring “homeowners and lenders were fairly treated,” yet they may be resulting in “some motions being denied and delays.”
Do you have questions about foreclosures or the Chicago housing market? Don’t hesitate to contact an experienced Chicago real estate attorney today.