Chicago in Top 5 Foreclosure Cities; Illinois Foreclosure Activity Up 29 Percent from April to May

Chicago, Illinois along with Miami, Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Los Angeles, California; and Phoenix, Arizona have the status of the cities with the top foreclosure activity in the United States. Foreclosure rates in Chicago amount to about one in every 252 housing units — the fourth-highest among the nation’s 20 largest metro areas. Illinois is the fifth highest in foreclosure activity in the United States — 29 percent higher in May 2012 compared to April 2012, and 54 percent higher from May 2012 to May 2011.

Chicagoland counties have the highest foreclosure activity in Illinois according to RealtyTrac.

Cook County 64,190
Lake County 8,665
DuPage County 8,029
Will County 7,317
Kane County 6,927
McHenry County 4,305

May 2012 was the first month since January 2010 that the number of homes starting in pre-foreclosure status rose compared to the previous year. New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida showed the highest gain in homes beginning the foreclosure process. Thirty-three states showed an increase compared to the previous year.

Foreclosure activity slowed down last year as banks were accused of not verifying documents.

About 8.7 million U.S. homes entered the foreclosure process between January 2007 and May 2012, according to RealtyTrac. About one-half were actually foreclosed.

Banks are increasingly opting to resolve foreclosure cases via short sale, rather than taking back properties. In a short sale proceeds from selling the property fall short of the balance of debts secured by liens against the property. The property owner cannot afford to repay the liens’ full amounts, and the lien holders agree to release the property owner’s lien on the real estate and accept less than the amount owed on the debt. The unpaid balance is called a deficiency.

Short sale agreements do not necessarily release borrowers from their obligations to repay any deficiencies of the loans, unless specifically agreed to between the parties, but short selling, as an alternative to foreclosure, avoids additional fees to creditors and borrowers. If the creditor reports the debt reduction to credit reporting agencies, it can adversely affect a person’s credit report; but not as badly as an outright foreclosure.

Most creditors require the borrower to prove economic or financial hardship to prevent them from being able to pay the deficiency.