Foreclosures in the Chicago metropolitan area are continuing at a rate far above their historical average, according to Foreclosures.com, a distressed property investment advisory firm based in Fair Oaks, Calif.New weekly foreclosure filings in the Chicago area averaged 508 in March and the first two weeks of April, the firm reported. "That's almost double the normal historic baseline of 260 per week for the six Chicago metro counties," said Alexis McGee, president of Foreclosures.com. She said "protracted unemployment" is only one of the causes of the foreclosure surge, and pointed to a warning by economists at Bank One about relaxed loan qualification standards in the secondary mortgage market. "The easy money that was so plentiful during the recent boom in housing is coming back to haunt both borrowers and lenders," Ms. McGee said. Foreclosures.com can be found on the Web at http://www.foreclosures.com.

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