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Foreclosure Starts Sink to Pre-Recession Level in Chicago Area

foreclosure-twoThe number of foreclosure filings in a six-county region in Illinois that includes Chicago dropped by nearly 38 percent from the first half of 2013 to the first half of 2014, falling to its lowest level since 2007, according to data released by the Woodstock Institute on September 4.

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.

The exact number of filings for the first half of 2013 for the six-county region was 22,342, according to Woodstock. This number of filings for the same period in 2014 was 13,916, a decline of 37.7 percent year-over-year. Woodstock reported 16,332 foreclosure auctions for the six counties in the first half of 2013, a number which declined to 13,602 for the first half of 2014 – a drop of 16.7 percent.

"The decreasing number of new properties entering the foreclosure pipeline means policymakers will need to adjust the tools they are using to address the foreclosure crisis and its aftermath," said Spencer Cowan, vice president of Woodstock Institute. "There are still thousands of homeowners entering the foreclosure process who will need guidance on how to avoid losing their homes whenever possible, but there are also tens of thousands more who lost their homes and who are struggling to rebuild their lives. Vacant and blighted homes continue to plague neighborhoods, particularly low-wealth neighborhoods and communities of color."

In the city of Chicago, the number of foreclosure filings declined by 34.4 percent year-over-year for the first half of 2014, while the number of foreclosure auctions fell by 20 percent.

"The foreclosure crisis continues to impact homeowners who lost their homes, their neighbors, and their communities," Cowan said. "We need sustained support for policy interventions that can limit the ongoing negative impacts of foreclosures."

The six Illinois counties for which the foreclosure data was compiled were McHenry, Lake, DuPage, Kane, Cook, and Will. Chicago is located in Cook County.

About Author: Brian Honea

Brian Honea's writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master's degree from Amberton University in Garland.

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