Mortgage defaults in the Chicago metropolitan area surged in the second quarter, rising 60% from the level recorded in the first quarter, according to ForeclosureS.com, a Fair Oaks, Calif.-based investment advisory firm."As of mid-August, 17,467 homes were in some stage of foreclosure in the Midwestern region that includes Chicago, Gary, Ind., and Kenosha in southern Wisconsin," said Alexis McGee, president of ForeclosureS.com. Ms. McGee said job losses in the manufacturing sector, growing consumer debt, and rising energy costs are "putting the squeeze" on the middle class in the Midwest. The company can be found online at http://www.foreclosures.com.

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