Foreclosure filings, also called foreclosure starts, are the first step toward foreclosure. While filings took a dramatic drop, however, foreclosure auctions – the final step in the foreclosure process – experienced a less drastic year-over-year decline, according to the data.
New foreclosure filings, which are the first step in the foreclosure process, dropped to the lowest level since 2007 following months of sustained year-over-year declines, data from Woodstock Institute show. Foreclosure filings in the Chicago six county region decreased by nearly 40 percent from the first half of 2013 to the first half of 2014. Foreclosure auctions, which signify the completion of the foreclosure process, declined at a less dramatic pace, dropping just 16.7 percent over the same time period.
Aggregated by community area, ward, suburban region, and municipality, Woodstock's first half of 2013 through first half of 2014 foreclosure update offers community stakeholders the information they need to understand the scope of the problem and measure the success of their efforts.
The countywide program began late last year with help from the Affordable Housing Corp. of Lake County. More than two-thirds of those who have taken advantage of the program have had some form of success.
“This benefits homeowners and the communities,” Hoffman said at an Aug. 4 meeting in Deerfield. “Since the foreclosure crisis began there have been more than 10,300 cases of residential foreclosures filed in Lake County.”
There were 5,184 suits pending as of Aug. 5.
Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt appeared today at the Woodson Regional Library in Washington Heights to raise awareness of the Home Affordable Refinance Program, which has lowered borrowing costs for about 184,000 homeowners in the Chicago area since its 2009 inception. But nearly 36,000 Chicagoans eligible for HARP refinancing have yet to use the program, Mr. Watt said.
“This is just free money when you think about it,” he said.
There is a significant need for programs that prevent foreclosure for underwater homeowners in the Chicago area. More than one in five homeowners in the Chicago region is underwater, and negative equity is disproportionately concentrated in communities of color.
A fast-track foreclosure process streamlines the foreclosure process in judicial foreclosure states—states in which residential foreclosures must be approved by the Circuit Court. The foreclosure process has a longer timeline for judicial foreclosure states. Illinois foreclosures, for example, took an average of 815 days to complete the process in 2013.
There were 224 foreclosures filed in Franklin Park in 2012. That dropped to 129 in 2013. Those numbers are according to the Woodstock Institute, a research and advocacy nonprofit in Chicago that works on fair lending, wealth creation and financial reform issues.
Katie Buitrago, a senior policy associate, suggests the decrease in new filings is due to a combination of factors.
Foreclosures have been a drag on the market for the past several years, as homeowners and lenders dump distressed homes and condominiums at discounted prices, undercutting homeowners trying to sell down the block or a few floors away. While the number of homes heading into foreclosure has dropped, the problem hasn't disappeared because a lot of homes are still stuck in the process.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says he plans to introduce legislation to get banks and mortgagees to better maintain the vacant properties. He wants to double the number of nonprofit land banks that can buy abandoned and foreclosed homes and rehab or demolish them, HousingWire reports.
New York isn’t alone in being haunted by the “zombie property” epidemic. As of mid-2013, 300,000 zombie foreclosures were in neighborhoods across the U.S., according to statistics from RealtyTrac.