Foreclosures Decrease in First Quarter Across U.S.

The experts predicted it would get worse. They said distressed homes would bombard the market like waves crashing along Lake Shore Drive, pummeling the Chicago real estate market with foreclosures. The outlook was bleak and the housing market seemed doomed to stay in the mire of upside-down mortgages and a stagnant housing recovery.
House Underwater PictureSometimes though, the experts and their predictions can be off.
The rate of homeowners having to foreclose on their property has fallen to the lowest levels in four years.
The first quarter shows that foreclosures were down 2% from the fourth quarter of 2011. While a 2% decrease is not something to hang your hat on, any improvement in the current housing market is reason to celebrate. More importantly, foreclosure filings are down 16% from the same period last year.
However, Illinois homeowners will have to wait a bit longer to join the celebration, as 13,820 homes received a foreclosure filing last month, up 14.7% from a year earlier and up 3.9% from February.
During the year’s first quarter, roughly 572,928 properties received foreclosure filings, resulting in the lowest total since 2007, according to RealtyTrac.
So what can be attributed to the decline in foreclosures during the first quarter despite predictions by experts that the opposite would hold true? It seems that a combination of politics and damage control have played a role.
For instance, banks are eager to change their image in the aftermath of the mortgage crisis by improving how they manage foreclosure filings.
Furthermore, with the general election roughly seven months away, President Obama is kicking his reelection campaign into high gear and a real estate market littered with increasing foreclosures is not a great platform to stand on with the hope of sticking around four more years.
The Fed’s plan to convert distressed homes into rentals has also helped slow the rate of foreclosure filings.
At least for now, the experts and naysayers have been proved wrong as foreclosures have not increased but, in fact, done the opposite when looking at the country as a whole. While the real estate industry is not out of the woods just yet, especially the Chicagoland housing market, positive news like this illustrates that the tide is slowly turning. Hopefully this trend continues and begins to positively affect Chicago real estate as well.