Foreclosure Proceedings Stretching on for Nearly a Year in Chicago

A recent analysis of Chicago foreclosure statistics found that foreclosure proceedings are taking an unusually long time to complete - almost a year on average.

The Woodstock Institute, a Chicago-based research and policy non-profit organization, examined foreclosure statistics in recent years for six counties in the Chicago area. The organization found that, in the first six months of 2011, there were 8,515 foreclosure auctions. This number is about half of the number of Chicago foreclosure auctions in the same time period in 2010, which was 17,331.

In addition, the second quarter of 2011 saw 3,604 properties complete the foreclosure process, which is 27 percent fewer properties than in the first quarter of 2011. The second quarter of 2011 also had the fewest foreclosure auctions since 2007.

Why are Chicago Foreclosures Decreasing?

While these statistics may seem to indicate that the foreclosure crisis is improving, the reality is that the number of foreclosure completions is down because foreclosure proceedings are taking longer to complete than in recent years. In the second quarter of 2011, the average duration of the foreclosure process was 359 days. That represents a 25.5 percent increase from the same time in 2010, and the longest duration since 2008, according to the Woodstock Institute.

Part of the reason why foreclosure proceedings are taking such a long time is that banks and other loan servicers have slowed their speeds, taking more time to review documents and properly execute affidavits in wake of the "robo-signing" scandal that nearly ground the foreclosure process to halt.

One benefit to homeowners of the long duration of foreclosure proceedings is that it gives them more time to negotiate possible loan modifications, investigate banks' legal right to foreclose on their homes and explore other options that may be available to help them keep their homes, like filing for bankruptcy. An experienced Chicago consumer lawyer can advise homeowners on how to best use this time to their advantage.

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