Foreclosure Research

Woodstock Institute identifies trends and impacts of the foreclosure crisis and works to limit foreclosures’ negative effects on communities.

March 3, 2011
By Taniesha Robinson March 3, 2011 A significant portion of Chicago-area foreclosures are nearly invisible to the casual observer. While boarded-up homes are obvious, foreclosed condos – which make up one in five foreclosures – leave few visual clues. Condos have carved out a distinct ditch in...
March 1, 2011

Representatives from leading policy and community development organizations met with Senator Dick Durbin on Thursday, February 24 in the Roseland neighborhood to examine ways to stop the scourge of vacant homes on Chicago area communities.

February 22, 2011

Debate is brewing across the country about what shape our housing finance system should take in the years to come. As consumer advocates, we need to ensure that the system that emerges from these discussions meets the needs of  low-wealth people seeking affordable and sustainable housing.
The new housing finance system must support broad access to the products that made home ownership, the primary means of building wealth for many Americans, a reality for communities that otherwise would have been overlooked. It’s worth noting that, from the aftermath of the Great Depression to the beginning of the new millennium, government-sponsored entities (GSEs) like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ensured the flow of responsible credit to underserved communities and considerably expanded homeownership opportunities.

February 21, 2011
By John McCarron February 21, 2011 Too bad Isidra and Wenceslao Martinez couldn't make it to Davos, Switzerland, a couple of weeks ago to hear the CEO of JPMorgan Chase explain how his bank is getting a bad rap for the foreclosure/bailout/Great Recession thing. Money has been scarce in the...
February 21, 2011
By Robert Dietz February 21, 2011 There's a lot at stake in the City Council races. Retirements in wards throughout the city have led to an explosion of interest in running for the council. All tolled the ballots tomorrow will have 239 different candidates running for City Council. There will be...
February 17, 2011

The foreclosure crisis continues to evolve and pose new challenges for communities working towards recovery. Chicago area municipalities, community and policy groups, and financial institutions have been working together for years to develop tools and strategies to handle the problems associated with foreclosures on single-family homes, many of which have been highlighted by Regional HOPI. A new threat is commanding these groups’ attention:  foreclosures on condominiums.

February 17, 2011
By Mick Dumke February 17, 2011 In the eyes of Lisa Thomas, the needs of the 15th Ward are so extensive it is difficult to list them all. “Things have been going downhill,” said Ms. Thomas, a mother of four and a 12-year resident of the South Side ward. “We need new homes and better schools. We...
February 16, 2011
By Jennifer Johnson February 16, 2011 Foreclosures continued to increase in Park Ridge last year but at a rate that was lower than the Chicago region's average, a report from a foreclosure research group shows. The Woodstock Institute's 2010 fourth-quarter report on foreclosures in the six-county...
February 15, 2011
By Elizabeth Brackett February 15, 2011 This is what some lenders are doing: they file a foreclosure and then ‘walk away’ because they deem it too expensive to maintain long-term vacant homes. And it’s going to cost Chicago some $36 million, according to a recent report from the Woodstock...
February 15, 2011
By Karen Berkowitz February 15, 2011 More Evanston homeowners fell far enough behind on their mortgage payments in 2010 that lenders and mortgage service companies lowered the boom in Cook County Circuit Court. Across Evanston, foreclosures were filed on 399 properties in 2010, a 19 percent...
February 11, 2011
By Christine Ricciardi February 11, 2011   Foreclosure filings in the six-county Chicago metropolitan area rose 14% between 2009 and 2010, and are expected to trend upward during this year. Nearly 80,000 new foreclosures were filed in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties, according...
February 11, 2011
By Micah Maidenberg February 11, 2011 As usual, there's a lot to pick through in the Woodstock Institute's latest analysis (PDF) of home foreclosure activity in greater Chicagoland. One trend that stuck out during a review of the new data: there was a "dramatic" increase of more than 25 percent in...
February 11, 2011
By Micah Maidenberg February 11, 2011 Ed Smith's retirement last November means voters in Chicago's 28th ward, which includes Garfield Park as well as parts of Austin, will head to the polls on February 22 and not see his name on the ballot for the first time in 27 years. The turnover comes at a...
February 10, 2011
By Ashley Gross February 10, 2011 For a sixth year in a row, foreclosure filings climbed in the Chicago region last year. Collar counties saw big year-over-year jumps. That’s according to data from the housing research group Woodstock Institute. Polo Fabian works for Consumer Credit Counseling...
February 10, 2011

The Chicago six-county region saw nearly 80,000 new foreclosure filings in 2010, says data released today by Woodstock Institute. This 14 percent increase in new foreclosures from 2009 to 2010 happened in spite of a dip in the fourth quarter of 2010, likely due to the moratoria many mortgage servicers instated after it was discovered that a number of servicers were improperly preparing foreclosure documents.
“Clearly, the foreclosure problem in the Chicago area is not going away anytime soon,” said Senior Vice President Geoff Smith. “Even though many foreclosures were halted for several months in 2010, the region still saw double-digit increases from 2009 to 2010. It is likely that we will see an even larger jump in foreclosures in early 2011.”

February 10, 2011
  By Mary Ellen Podmolik February 11, 2011 More than 8,300 homeowners in Illinois received notices from lenders that they’d defaulted on their mortgages and had foreclosures proceedings initiated against them last month, according to a monthly foreclosure report issued Thursday by Web site...
February 8, 2011
Homeowners aren't the only ones walking away from homes -- banks and mortgage servicers are abandoning properties as well.      
February 4, 2011

Loan servicers, who typically steward homes through the foreclosure process, came under scrutiny several months ago for problems ensuring the validity of foreclosure documents. Many of the country’s largest servicers allegedly employed “robo-signers,” often underpaid and under-trained employees who signed thousands of statements testifying to the accuracy of the foreclosure paperwork without actually ensuring that the statements were true. When some files were scrutinized, it was found that the servicer may not have had the right to pursue foreclosure because the mortgage debt had not been properly transferred. After a ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Court that declared two such foreclosures invalid, the legality of thousands of foreclosures has been called into question.

February 1, 2011

The Home Affordable Modification Program has modestly improved the level of modification activity in Chicago this month, though its pace continues to be far slower than what’s necessary to address the foreclosure crisis (see our previous analyses). There were 35,012 active modifications in the region in December 2010, up 3.57 percent from last month’s 33,806.

January 27, 2011
By Kate Berry January 27, 2011 Mortgage servicers have refused to complete foreclosures on thousands of vacant homes in Chicago because they do not want to pay the cost of maintaining the homes, according to a report this month from the Woodstock Institute, a local nonprofit. The companies'...
January 27, 2011
By Frank Kalman January 27, 2011 More homes were repossessed in the Chicago area last year than in all but one U.S. metro area, according to a new report. Lenders took back 45,555 properties here in 2010, a 20% increase from 2009, according to a report released Thursday by RealtyTrac Inc., an...
January 27, 2011
By Curtis Black January 27, 2011 After a West Side activist group announced plans to take over and board up a building abondoned following foreclosure, the city moved within hours to have the building demolished, said Elce Redmond of the South Austin Coalition. “They got wind of what we were going...
January 26, 2011
By Micah Maidenberg January 26, 2011 Owners of dangerous vacant buildings in Chicago could face up to six months in jail for failing to properly maintain their properties, according to an ordinance that advanced out of the City Council's buildings committee yesterday and now heads to the full...
January 20, 2011

Our latest report, “Left Behind: Troubled Foreclosed Properties and Servicer Accountability in Chicago,” has created a wave of buzz from the Chicago region and beyond, generating dozens of stories, thousands of comments, and scores of tweets and Facebook posts. In case you missed it, the report found thousands of troubled foreclosed homes in Chicago that are likely poorly maintained, lack clear ownership, and threaten to destabilize neighborhoods. These homes include what we call “red flag” properties, where a servicer has decided not to complete the foreclosure process, and likely-vacant lender-owned properties that are not registered with the City of Chicago potentially in violation of its vacant properties ordinance.

January 18, 2011
By Megan Cottrell January 18, 2011 We all know that there are a ton of foreclosures in Chicago. How many? More than 45,000 in the city's metro area in 2010. But there's a slice of those, and not a small one, that falls into a different category. They're almost like ghost homes - not really among...
January 14, 2011
By Micah Maidenberg January 14, 2011 A new phrase is entering Chicago's political and housing policy lexicon: "red flag properties." The Woodstock Institute coined the term to describe the increasing number of vacant, deteriorating homes in the city that have gone into the foreclosure process but...
January 14, 2011
January 14, 2011 There’s been no slowdown in the foreclosure wave that has swept the entire Chicagoland area in the last few years. “According to RealtyTrac, the online marketplace for foreclosure properties, 45,555 homes became bank-owned last year in the area between the Wisconsin border and...
January 14, 2011
January 14, 2011 Over the past couple of years there's been plenty of smugness and disdain pitched in the direction of people who have walked away from mortgages. Never mind that many of them were lured into loans they couldn't afford, lost jobs and couldn't find replacements, saw income from...
January 13, 2011
Thousands of vacant homes in the City of Chicago are likely poorly maintained, lack clear ownership, and threaten to destabilize neighborhoods, says a report released today by Woodstock Institute.
January 13, 2011
By Mary Ellen Podmolik January 13, 2011 A new type of property is adding to neighborhood blight: the bank walkaway. Research to be released Thursday, the first of its kind locally, identifies 1,896 "red flag" homes in Chicago — most of them are in distressed African-American neighborhoods — that...

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