Cook County foreclosures jump 10% in first quarter
Foreclosure filings in Cook County increased 10% from the previous three months after a pause from mortgage servicers and the Sheriff's ban on enforcement lifted. Lenders made 11,201 filings in the first quarter for the entire county, with more than 5,000 occurring in the Chicago city limits. Banks repossessed 2,800 homes in the first quarter, according to the Woodstock Institute a nonprofit research group based in the area. The highest increase occurred in Chicago's East Side community, where filings more than doubled from the same quarter in 2010. Filings also increased 76% in Archer Heights, 60% in Lakeview and 57% in North Center. Woodstock researchers said the jump was likely caused by the resumption activity by mortgage servicers. These companies froze operations late in 2010 to check affidavits filed in judicial foreclosure states, including Illinois. But Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart also installed a moratorium of his own in October. Foreclosures restarted in late November when the state attorney general's office notified him he must enforce evictions signed by a judge. The pause is still being felt at the far end of the foreclosure process. Woodstock found 54% fewer properties in the first quarter completed foreclosure auctions in Cook County than one year ago. These "significant" declines occurred in all sub-areas of the county and in nearly every Chicago neighborhood. Woodstock said it is likely that the vast majority of these properties now sit vacant. "It is likely that a steady increase in auctions quarter to quarter will continue to be observed in 2011 as the bottleneck created by the robo-signing scandal is resolved," researchers said. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.