Number of foreclosures keeps falling in Chicago area

These have been unusual times for the Chicago housing market. Last year saw median home prices here rise steadily. At the same time, the number of homes that actually sold in the city dropped. Now Crain’s Chicago Business provides another bit of good news to help even things out: The number of foreclosures in the Chicago area continues to drop.

According to the Crain’s story, the number of foreclosures in the Chicago area hit its lowest point in 2018 than at any time since at least 2006. If you remember 2006, that was before the U.S. foreclosure crisis hit its peak.

Crain’s, citing numbers released by Attom Data Solutions, wrote that about 32,400 homes in the Chicago area were in some stage of the foreclosure process last year. That might sound like a lot of homes, but it’s fewer properties in foreclosure than in any year since 2006.

It’s also the first year in which the number of foreclosed homes in the Chicago area was below 1 percent of the area’s housing stock. According to Attom’s numbers, the number of foreclosures was equal to 0.85 percent of all Chicago-area housing units last year.

Why the drop? The Crain’s story quotes an official with Attom who says that lenders have become more careful when approving borrowers for home loans. This has led to a smaller number of risky loans and fewer foreclosures.

This is good news for the Chicago housing market. Foreclosed properties tend to drag down the asking prices of the homes surrounding them. If there are fewer foreclosed homes on the market, they’ll have less of a negative impact on local housing prices.

Let’s hope that this drop in foreclosures is a long-term trend and not just a blip. The fewer foreclosures clogging the Chicago housing market, the better it is for the local residential real estate scene.