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Area foreclosures up in December, set high for year

The number of homes in the Chicago metropolitan area hit with foreclosure filings rose 8.6 percent last December from November and set a record for the year.

But the number dropped 21.9 percent from December 2009, according to RealtyTrac, which expects foreclosures to still climb this year.

The report showed bigger declines nationally last month as the impact of improperly signed foreclosure documents continued to be felt and kept things from being worse.

In the Chicago metropolitan area, 13,062 homes received a filing in December, or one in every 289 homes. For the year, one in every 27 homes received a filing or 138,913 homes, up 16.1 percent.

In Illinois, the number of homes receiving filings rose 8.5 percent in December to 14,042 from November and dropped 21.2 percent from December 2009. A record 151,304 homes received a filing last year, up 15.4 percent as one in every 35 homes received a filing in the state.

Nationally, the number of homes receiving filings dipped 1.8 percent in December over the month to 257,747 and dropped 26.3 percent from December 2009. Over the year, nearly 2.9 million homes received a filing, also a record, or one in every 45 homes.

Up to 12,000 more homes in the state and up to 250,000 more homes nationally would have received a foreclosure filing in 2010 if not for the documentation and procedure problems that prompted lenders and servicers to halt foreclosures in the fourth quarter, RealtyTrac representatives contend.

“Even though the numbers rose in December (in Illinois), it was the second lowest monthly total of the year behind November,” Blomquist said, crediting the controversy.

This year, RealtyTrac expects lenders to put the documentation problems behind them and restart the foreclosures they halted last year.

“We might have seen lenders start to ramp up foreclosures a little bit in Illinois (last month),” Blomquist said.

His foreclosure forecast for 2011 in Illinois: “We don’t expect a dramatic improvement, but at the same time we don’t expect the numbers to get dramatically worse. We would expect foreclosure activity in Illinois to peak somewhere in the second half of 2011 or early 2012 before truly turning the corner.”

Illinois ranked fourth in the nation in the total number of homes receiving a foreclosure filing last year and ninth in the rate of foreclosures.

For the fourth straight year, Nevada had the worse foreclosure rate in the country as one in every 11 homes received a filing.

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