Metro-east foreclosure filings continue to fall; hit six-year low

News-DemocratJuly 22, 2013 

The local housing market is seeing more signs of strength as the number of metro-east properties in foreclosure continues to fall.

According to foreclosure filings reported over the first six months of the year, both St. Clair County and Madison County recorded the lowest number of foreclosure filings between January and June since the recession. A total of 522 foreclosures was filed on St. Clair County properties and 477 foreclosures were filed on Madison County properties in that time.

Al Suguitan, president and chief operating officer of Greater Gateway Association of Realtors in Glen Carbon, said the housing market's focus has shifted away from foreclosures as they continue to fall.

"There is less and less discussion of short sales and foreclosures," Suguitan said. "It doesn't mean that there are still not some situations that are still stressful for folks. The discussion has now turned to multiple offers for properties increasing interest rates. Everybody is looking out there and 'kicking the tires.'"

According to Irvine, Calif.-based online real estate tracker RealtyTrac, U.S. foreclosure filings dropped 14 percent in June over May and fell by 35 percent over June 2012 -- the lowest monthly level since December 2006. The 801,359 U.S. properties that were the subjects of foreclosure filiings during the first half of 2013 was down 19 percent from the previous six-month period and down 23 percent from the first half of 2012. Foreclosure auctions were up 34 percent last month over June 2012.

In Illinois, the number of properties entering the foreclosure process in June decreased by 68 percent from a year ago and bank repossessions were down 49 percent from a year ago. However, the number of foreclosures auctions in the state jumped by 65 percent and reached a 35-month high.

RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist said although foreclosures are no longer as problematic to the housing market as they have recently been, he said states like Illinois are experiencing a backlog of distressed properties has built up due to lengthy foreclosure processes.

"There is still some clearing out of the distressed properties left over from after the housing bubble burst, but for the most part the trend we are seeing now in foreclosure filings is that it's a combination of a recovering market and part of it is recovering home prices," Blomquist said. "It's simply that enough properties have worked through the bad loans that triggered the foreclosure crisis."

Illinois is a state where foreclosures must undergo a judicial procedure in order to foreclose on a property. However, according to Realtytrac, the average time to foreclose on a property in Illinois is 817 days.

Contact reporter Will Buss at wbuss@bnd.com or 239-2526.

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