Illinois foreclosure filings drop for a second year

RealtyTrac, the foreclosure data firm, says banks are delaying foreclosure filings as they try to correct paperwork problems and address legal issues.

January 12, 2012

By Ashley Gross

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(WBEZ/Ashley Gross)
The view inside a vacant, ransacked building in the West Humboldt Park neighborhood.

Foreclosure filings dropped in Illinois for a second year in a row, prompting some hope that the crisis is slowing.

The foreclosure data firm RealtyTrac says foreclosure filings in Illinois fell 32 percent last year – pretty much in line with the nation as a whole. In a statement, RealtyTrac CEO Brandon Moore said foreclosures were delayed in 2011 as banks worked through paperwork problems and legal issues.

But Erik Hurst of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business says the drop is a reflection of an economy that’s slowly improving.  

"Shocks are still coming, people are still getting laid off, the job market isn’t great," Hurst said, "But we should see declines in the foreclosure rates relative to periods when unemployment was unimaginably high and housing prices were plummeting at a very fast rate."

Kendall County had the highest foreclosure rate in all of Illinois last year, with one out of every 23 households receiving a foreclosure filing.  Kane and McHenry counties were second and third. Overall, Illinois had the eighth highest foreclosure rate in the country.