Foreclosures decline, driving up prices (Orlando Sentinel)

By Mary Ellen Podmolik

Tanis Group Realty's quarterly bus tours of foreclosed homes for sale still draw a big crowd of potential buyers but the pickings just aren't what they once were and the prices tend to be higher.

In 2014, the West Dundee-based firm's bank-owned property listings numbered 390, compared with 750 the previous year. Prices are up as a result of lower inventory, interest by smaller investors and the general housing market's lift.

"We expect the flow of properties coming in to continue its downward trend," said Doug Kowalewski, Tannis' business manager.

The housing market is slowly headed back to normal, based on year-end national and local housing industry reports.

Foreclosure activity in the Chicago area fell to a seven-year low in 2014 as more homeowners got back on their feet financially and home prices continued their moderate improvement.

Last year, 67,331 homes in an area that stretches from Kenosha through Chicago and its suburbs and into Northwest Indiana received a foreclosure filing, RealtyTrac reported Thursday. It represented a 26 percent decrease from 2013 and was the sixth annual decline in activity, the firm said. A foreclosure filing can be an initial default notice, notice of a court-ordered auction or notice that the property has been repossessed by its lender.

The company's report jibes with other data that show the effect here, as well as across the nation, of a lower unemployment rate, rising home values, low mortgage rates and rising rents that are helping raise the interest of homebuyers and investors.

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