Local Foreclosure Figures Are Frightening

Chicago area getting socked with lost homes

The numbers tell the sad and scary story.

Thousands of Chicago-area families are facing the loss of their homes.

In DuPage County, foreclosure filings climbed from 1,886 in 2006 to 4,470 in 2008, a jump of 137 percent.

In Kane County, filings rose from 1,614 in 2006 to 3,451 in 2008, a 114 percent increase, according to the non-profit Woodstock Institute.

Between 2007 and 2008, foreclosures in Cook County were up 51.4 percent, from 14,417 in 2007 to 22,222 in 2008.

On Tuesday, the Sun-Times reported that "new foreclosure filings numbered 19,943 in 2008, nearly double the 10,673 filings reported in 2006. Eighty-six percent of the mortgages were made within the last three years."

To add insult to injury, Cook County Court Clerk Dorothy Brown plans a news conference this afternoon in which she'll cite statistics showing that since President  Obama's inauguration, the daily average of mortgage foreclosure case filings in Cook County has surged to 277 a day from 161, a 72 percent increase.

Brown said she is concerned that Chicago-area banks that have received bailout money from the federal government are "trying to undermine" the president's efforts.

"The recent spike in the number of foreclosures filed make it appear as though some banks, even though they have received bailout funds, are rushing troubled homeowners into foreclosure rather than help them restructure loans," she said.

Brown told the Sun-Times' Michael Sneed that "if present trends continue, Cook County is projected to be hit by more than 50,000 new mortgage foreclosure cases by year's end,"

See data on the Second Half 2008 Foreclosure filings

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RealtyTrac released data Thursday showing that more than 14,200 homes in Illinois received some sort of foreclosure filing in February, the Tribune reported Thursday. That's a 1.6 percent drop from January, but 62 percent higher than a year earlier.

The number of foreclosed and boarded up houses scattered across the city has left neighborhoods blighted and neighbors frightened.

"As foreclosures soar to historic levels," a February report said, "the infection has spread beyond places of perennial concern, such as West Garfield Park and Englewood."

According to city data, more than half of the loans issued in Humboldt Park in  2006 and 2007 qualified as subprime and unemployment hovered around 11 percent there in 2007.

But the North Side has not been immune to the crisis, either.

(See data on the Second Half 2008 Foreclosure filings)

"Condo ghost towns replete with granite and stainless steel have emerged on stretches of the North Side, leaving a pox of hollow buildings dotting the landscape," the Tribune reported.

Some builders estimate there is two years worth of housing stock for sale in Rogers Park thanks to overdevelopment and rapid, unregulated conversions.

Other areas seeing spikes include Lincoln Square, where the Tribune reports foreclosures rose nearly 134 percent from last year; two-thirds were condo units.

With national foreclosure filings up 6 percent in February from January and 30 percent from February 2008, Chicago is clearly not the only city facing the crisis.

The Obama administration is aiming to help up to 9 million borrowers stay in their homes nationally through refinanced mortgages or loans that are modified to lower monthly payments.

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