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Illinois August foreclosure rate highest in nation

A foreclosure sign stands top sale sign outside home. | The Associated Press

A foreclosure sign stands on top of a sale sign outside a home. | The Associated Press

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Updated: October 15, 2012 9:47AM

Illinois had the highest foreclosure rate in the country in August ­— the first time the state has topped the list in the ranking’s seven-year history — but the numbers have a hopeful signal that more foreclosure resolutions could lead to a speedier housing market recovery, one expert said Thursday.

Foreclosure filings going through court — a requirement in Illinois — are up 148.6 percent from a year ago, compared with an increase in new filings of 30.2 percent during the same period, said Geoffrey Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois.

The outcome could lead to a foreclosure-backlog cleanup in 18 months to two years, he said.

“The faster foreclosed properties are processed and off the market, the better for a return to a more normal market,” Hewings said.

That’s significant because foreclosures hurt housing prices and assessments.

The number that put Illinois at the top of the foreclosure list in August involved the number of homes listed as having foreclosure-related filings by RealtyTrac, which tallies the numbers of homes in trouble. The number jumped 42 percent from a year ago to 17,781 residential properties, or one in every 298 homes, topping the previous high of 16,318 in May, according to the RealtyTrac report.

The speed-up of Illinois’ procedures came after documentation issues such as “robosigning” were resolved, and enabled the courts to plow through a logjam of cases.

Francine Knowles
and Sandra Guy

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