Data show decrease in foreclosures over the past year

The housing markets in Chicago and those across America are far from out of the woods when it comes to the after-effects of the sub-mortgage industry collapse. Although fewer homes are currently in foreclosure now than at this time one year ago, the number has only lessened a small amount. Today 1.4 million homes are in foreclosure, a drop of only 100,000 over the course of a year.

A report released this week by the firm CoreLogic provides additional insight about the vital signs of the housing market. According to the report's data, approximately 6,000 fewer homes finished the foreclosure process during the month of February than during January. The total number of homes finishing foreclosure last month was 65,000. Finishing foreclosure means that a house formerly in foreclosure has been sold off or repossessed by the creditor.

The drop in completed foreclosures represents a strong headwind for the housing market as it seeks to regain its former dynamism. Since 2008, an estimated 3.4 million homes have gone through the foreclosure process.

While the number of homes in foreclosure has dropped by a slight amount, so too has the number of borrowers late on their mortgages. Last February, 7.8 percent of borrowers were more than 90 days in arrears. That figure has dropped in a year's time, but only to 7.3 percent, which represents a 0.1 percent increase over this January.

Property owners may have to deal with the consequences of the 2008 housing market crisis for some time to come. Many are still struggling to make mortgage payments, but those facing foreclosure do have options. There are ways to stop property foreclosure, but acting quickly is very important.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Fewer foreclosures completed in February," Mar. 29, 2012.

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