Mixed signals for Chicago housing market recovery

Sales are up but so are foreclosure filings in the Windy City, painting a mixed picture for real estate in Chicago. The condition of the city's housing market is still up for debate as reports indicate a rise in sales, but additional reports show foreclosure filings on the rise as well.

A recent article in Skyline cited data showing an ongoing rebound for the residential housing market. The data revealed that in July 2012, there were 2,088 units of single-family homes and condos sold, which is 26.2 percent more than in July 2011. Experts note that this is even more significant as the summer months are typically slower for the housing market.

Economist Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings of the University of Illinois said to the news source, "Despite the unclear signals for the future pace of economic recovery, the Illinois and Chicago-area housing sales and price forecasts suggest the housing market will maintain the positive momentum into the fall."

Zeke Morris, president of a Chicago real estate association, noted to Skyline that condo sales have historically been an indicator of market recovery and that condos are a cornerstone of the Chicago market.

Another article, in Crain's Chicago Business, cited an industry report naming Illinois as the state with the highest foreclosure activity in the country in August. Crain's revealed that this is the first time Illinois has been listed at the top spot since the monthly reports began seven years ago.

The source explained that most of the foreclosure activity for Illinois in August happened in the Chicago metro area. The city saw filings reported on 16,192 properties, which equated to one out of every 235 units and was 27 percent more than in July. Perhaps the most startling finding from the data is that the foreclosure activity in August 2012 is 44 percent higher than in August 2011.

These numbers put Chicago in eighth place for highest foreclosure activity of metropolitan areas in the country that have populations over 200,000.

Crain's quoted industry professional Daren Blomquist, who said in a report, "Bucking the national trend, deferred foreclosure activity boiled over in several states in August. In judicial states such as Florida, Illinois, New Jersey and New York, this was a continuation of a trend we've been seeing for several months now."