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Chicago area home foreclosure filings soar 23 percent in January

FILE - A Jan. 10 2009 file phoshows bank repo foreclosure for sale signs outside foreclosed home Houston.  Foreclosure

FILE - A Jan. 10, 2009 file photo shows a bank repo and foreclosure for sale signs outside a foreclosed home in Houston. Foreclosure sales plunged 25 percent in the July-September quarter versus the April-June period and tumbled 31 percent from the third quarter last year, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip/file)

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Updated: March 15, 2013 1:27PM

The number of homes hit with foreclosure filings in the Chicago metropolitan area jumped 23 percent in January from a month earlier, but fell 6 percent from January 2012, according to a report released Thursday from RealtyTrac, which expects improvement this year.

The report ranked Illinois as having the third highest foreclosure rate in the country last month and revealed scheduled foreclosure auctions in the state spiked 32 percent since December 2012 and rose 14 percent year-over-year to 5,241 ­— a 29 month high.

“I think it’s a continuation of the trend we saw in 2012 [when] we saw a lot of increases in properties starting the foreclosure process in Illinois,” said RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist. “Now I think this is evidence that the banks aren’t just starting the foreclosure process. They’re pushing them through and actually scheduling many of these for that public foreclosure auction.”

Some 12,931 homes in the Chicago area received a filing in January, up from 10,546 in December 2012, but down from 13,750 in January 2012.

Statewide, 14,090 homes received a filing, up 23 percent from December and dipping 2 percent from January 2012. One in every 375 homes received a filing in Illinois last month.

Illinois is among states that require foreclosure filings to go through court, which has slowed the process and created a backlog. Also, the housing crisis hit later here than other parts of the country, and recovery has lagged as unemployment has remained high.

“I think the one good sign in Illinois is that we’ve now seen four straight months in year-over-year decreases in properties starting the foreclosure process,” Blomquist said. “So I think Illinois is actually further along than some of the other judicial states in clearing out the backlog of inventory.”

Blomquist said he expects to continue to see elevated foreclosure numbers in Illinois through the middle of this year, “but I think there are signs that Illinois will turn a corner and get past that backlog, and the numbers will start going down by the end of the year.”

Nationally, the number of homes receiving filings dropped to the lowest level since June 2006 last month. The report showed 150,864 homes got hit, down 11 percent from December and dropping 28 percent from January 2012.

The national decline was largely due to a new California law that slowed filings there, according to RealtyTrac. Dubbed the Homeowners Bill of Rights, the law has several requirements, including that there be a single point of contact for borrowers facing foreclosure. The number of homes receiving filings in California dived 65 percent in January from a year earlier to 18,093 and dropped 40 percent from December, removing California from the top spot in filings for the first time since January 2007.

Florida took the top spot with 29,800 and also had the highest rate of foreclosures.

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