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Woodstock Developments

A monthly update on new research, analysis, and advocacy from Woodstock Institute

January 27, 2011


From the President: Let’s Not Lose Sight of Affordable Housing Goals When Reforming Housing Finance

Dory Rand 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.


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Chicago region foreclosures continue to rise in 2010, despite year-end “robo-signing” moratoria

The Chicago six-county region saw nearly 80,000 new foreclosure filings in 2010, say data released 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.”


Related: Illinois policymakers propose plans to protect due process during foreclosure

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Regional HOPI News: New report offers municipalities tools to combat condominium foreclosures

New data show that condominiums are a significant driving force behind foreclosure growth in many parts of the Chicago region. For example, in the suburbs of Northwest Cook County, foreclosures grew by 24.5 percent from 2009 to 2010—one of the highest rates of growth in the region. However foreclosures on condominiums grew by 32.3 percent and made up nearly half of the foreclosures in Northwest Cook County in 2010 (42.5 percent).

Clearly, condo foreclosures are becoming a problem that the region can’t afford to ignore. However, condo foreclosures are a different beast than foreclosures on single-family homes and require new tools and innovative approaches.


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Join us for the 2011 National Community Reinvestment Coalition Annual Conference

Whether it’s sharing best practices, catching up with colleagues at like-minded organizations, or meeting with policy makers, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition’s 2011 Annual Conference promises to brings together hundreds of community leaders, development experts, bankers, legislators, regulators, academics and others. Participants explore and debate the state of the industry and measures needed to ensure fair access to capital and to bring more people into the financial mainstream.


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Data show that aggressive modifications have brighter futures, while Chicago trial mods see nascent growth: December HAMP Analysis

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.


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Inclusion of rental payment data on credit reports can open up doors for some consumers

Experian, a major credit bureau, announced last week that it would start including data on rent payment into a segment of their credit reports. Currently, they are going to report only positive payment history, such as continuous and on-time payment of rent; negative payment history will be included in 2012.

One person I met this weekend is an example of how including rental payment history on credit reports could help consumers.


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In this issue

  Recent Work

File IconLeft Behind: Troubled Foreclosed Properties and Servicer Accountability in Chicago
January 2011 

File IconBridging the Gap: Credit Scores and Economic Opportunity in Illinois Communities of Color
September 2010

File IconPaying More for the American Dream IV: The Decline of Prime Mortgage Lending in Communities of Color
May 2010   

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