Foreclosure activity in some parts of the nation has dropped down to levels not seen since before the housing crisis, but that isn’t the case in the Chicago area.
In Cook County, foreclosure cases were initiated against 1,282 homes in June, higher than a month earlier or in June 2013, according to data compiled by RealtyTrac. An additional 1,127 homes were repossessed by lenders and became bank-owned last month. That’s higher than the 1,012 repossessions in May or the 869 in June of last year.
Initial foreclosure filings were also up in June for the entire Chicago area that stretches from Kenosha, Wis., to Northwest Indiana. Scheduled foreclosure auctions, which are supervised by circuit courts in Illinois, were higher than in May but significantly fewer than a year ago.
Stepping back and looking at the year’s first six months results in a brighter local picture, as overall foreclosure activity is down 30 percent from the first half of 2013. Still, just over 1 percent of Chicago-area homes were in some stage of foreclosure between January and July, the highest percentage among the nation’s 20 largest metropolitan areas except for higher than Miami and Tampa.
“Because of the surge of foreclosure activity we saw in 2012 and 2013, the foreclosure rates are still elevated” in the Chicago area, said Daren Blomquist, a RealtyTrac vice president. “Nationwide, we’re back to pre-housing bust levels of activity. That’s a nice milestone to hit.”
Foreclosures continue to act as a drag on the local housing market’s recovery, since almost 73,000 properties are in the foreclosure process or already bank-owned, more than any area other than New York or Miami, according to RealtyTrac.
At the same time, there is growing evidence of waning interest in purchasing foreclosures, some of which are in dire condition. In June, 384 foreclosed homes sold within the city of Chicago, down 25.1 percent from June 2013, according to the Chicago Association of Realtors.
The next owner of some -- but certainly not all -- of those unsellable properties may be the Cook County Land Bank.
Between late April and late June, it turned down 282 purchase opportunities from lenders or government agencies and 38 donations. It has accepted its first three purchase opportunities and 14 donations.
Halfway through the year, almost 175,000 properties have been repossessed by lenders across the country, according to RealtyTrac. Nationally, it took an average of 577 days to complete a foreclosure case, but Illinois’ average was 850 days.
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