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Mixed Bag News When Tracking Foreclosures in the Midwest

Nationally, the persistent rise in defaults on subprime loans continues to fuel the surge in foreclosures. The foreclosure numbers news from the Midwest have recently been a mixed bag.

Pre-foreclosure filings for the region, which includes foreclosure-plagued Cook County, Illinois (Chicago), fell% to 8,182 in April from March, according to Foreclosures.com.

Total auction filings, the second step in the foreclosure process, climbed 17%, the company reported. But REOs, a reflection of the numbers of foreclosure that have been completed, dropped 19% for April to 11,177.

Year-to-date the picture was more dismal as compared with the same time a year ago. Region-wide in the Midwest, pre-foreclosure filings, 28,789, were up 87%; auction filings, 18,976, climbed 275%, and REOs, 47,196, were up 23% for the year, said Alexis McGee, president and co-founder of Foreclosures.com, a California-based real estate investment advisory firm and publisher of foreclosure and property information

"The region's manufacturing and farming economy just can't seem to shake the foreclosure grip," added McGee. "Layoffs and economic woes have left too many of the Midwest's homeowners overextended and without many options to losing their homes. Metropolitan areas like Chicago, Toledo and Cleveland in Ohio, Detroit; Michigan, and St. Louis, Missouri, especially feel the pinch."

On a national basis, only the states of California and Florida have surpassed Illinois in numbers of pre-foreclosures year-to-date with 16,768 filings. On the better-news side, however, REO filings, 6,102 year-to-date, in Illinois were up just 8%, dropping the state to ninth place from sixth place in the numbers nationally, she said.

Cook County, Ill., saw 4,485 auction filings in April or 2.3 per capita, up 33% from 2006. The counties leading in numbers of REOs include, Wayne, MI with 3,709 filings or 4.8 capita, down 12% from a year ago. Cook County saw 3,523 filings or 1.8 per 1,000 households, up 20% from 2006. Cuyahoga, Ohio saw 3,267 filings or 5.7 per capita, up 80% over the same time a year earlier, according to foreclosures.com.

Consider a few more numbers from the Midwest. Lucas County, Ohio, which includes Toledo and its surrounding area, is among the Top 20 counties nationwide with the biggest percentage increase in REO filings year-to-date 2007 vs. 2006 at 277%. There were 1,688 filings vs. 448 the same time last year. It is, however, the only county in the region that made that list, said Ms. McGee.

The top five counties in the Midwest region with the most pre-foreclosure filing year-to date include Cook County, Ill. with 9,005 filings, up 53% for the same time last year. Milwaukee, Wis., saw 1,410, up 5% from a year ago. Will, Ill., had 1,287 filings up 37%. Lake, Ill., had 979 filings, up 38%, and Kane, Ill., had 946 filings, up 79%.

According to Foreclosures.com, these counties, except for Milwaukee, Wis., also top in terms of the most auction filings in the Midwest. for the year-to-date in 2007 vs. 2006. Cook Illinois had 4,485 filings, up 33%; Will, Illinois: 696 filings, up 62%; Lake, Illinois: 560 filings, up 80%; Kane, Illinois: 504 filings, up 54%; and DuPage, Illinois: 497 filings, up 52%.

When it comes to REO filings, only Cook County makes the list of counties with the most filings in the region year-to-date 2007 vs. 2006. Wayne, Michigan: 3,709 filings, down 12 percent from the same time last year. Cook, Illinois: 3,523, up 20 percent. Cuyahoga, Ohio: 3,267 filings, up 80 percent over year-to-date 2006. Oakland, Michigan: 2,428 filings, up 121 percent. Marion, Indiana: 1,980 filings, down 1 percent from 2006 at the same time.

The auction firm of Hudson & Marshall says sagging home sales combined with rising foreclosures have created an opportunity for buyers to catch extraordinary deals on properties, especially in the Midwest.

The company auction more than 500 foreclosed homes for national lenders and asset management companies in cities throughout Michigan.

Over 300 homes were offered in the Detroit area alone. Well over half of the Detroit area homes will be sold to high bidders for under $5,000, making it a opportunity for first-time and seasoned real estate investors to purchase bank-owned properties.

"This auction allowed people to literally purchase homes in Michigan at extremely discounted prices because sellers want to dispose of properties quickly to avoid the long-term carrying costs of bad debt," said Dave Webb, principal, Hudson & Marshall. "Another advantage of purchasing homes through private auctions is buyers set the price they want to pay for a property in a competitive bidding environment."

According to RealtyTrac, Michigan still ranks in the nation's top 10 for states with the highest rates, reporting a total of 29,467 foreclosures for the first quarter. Beleaguered by economic troubles, Detroit also continues to report the highest number of foreclosures, 16,351, among the nation's top metro areas for the first quarter of 2007.

Ohio's foreclosure activity surged in April, RealtyTrac said,up 39% from March and up 135% from April 2006, pushing the state's foreclosure total to third largest in the nation. The state reported 11,431 foreclosure filings during the month, a foreclosure rate of one foreclosure filing for every 418 households, 1.9 times the national average.

Bargain Network, an online provider of information for pre-foreclosures and foreclosures, said nationally, the average percentage of single family residence foreclosure filings per state was approximately 88% in April. Kansas, Michigan and Iowa were among the states that exceeded the national average for single family residence foreclosure activity with averages ranging from 96% to 99%. (c) 2007 Mortgage Servicing News and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.mortgageservicingnews.com http://www.sourcemedia.com