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Foreclosures pick up in Illinois and other judicial states

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 12, 2012 - Foreclosure activity continued to rise last month in Illinois and other states where judicial action is required in the process, according to RealtyTrac, an online marketer of foreclosure properties.

Illinois had the nation’s highest foreclosure rate in August, with one in 300 homes receiving a foreclosure filing -- either a default notice, scheduled auction or bank repossession. Missouri, a non-judicial state, ranked about midway on the list – at 22nd – with a foreclosure rate of one in every 1,100 homes. Foreclosures are speedier in non-judicial states where lenders are required to follow a documentation process but are not required to get court approval.

Overall, foreclosure filings were reported on 193,508 U.S. properties in August, a monthly increase of 1 percent, but were down 15 percent from August 2011, according to the report released Thursday.

"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,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac, in a statement accompanying the report.

He noted that foreclosure activity in most non-judicial states stayed on a "downward trajectory” in August.

Some findings from the report:

  • This was the first time Illinois topped the foreclosure rankings since RealtyTrac began issuing the reports in January 2005.
  • Completed bank repossessions dropped by 2 percent in August and by 19 percent from August 2011.
  • Foreclosure filings were posted on 17,781 Illinois properties in August, a 29 percent increase from July and a 42 percent rise from August 2011. Filings increased 28 percent in Chicago and 15 percent in Rockford, Ill.
  • In Missouri, there were 2,396 foreclosure filings in August, a 3 percent increase from July but a 12 percent decrease from August 2011.
Mary Delach Leonard is a veteran journalist who joined the St. Louis Beacon staff in April 2008 after a 17-year career at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where she was a reporter and an editor in the features section. Her work has been cited for awards by the Missouri Associated Press Managing Editors, the Missouri Press Association and the Illinois Press Association. In 2010, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis honored her with a Spirit of Justice Award in recognition of her work on the housing crisis. Leonard began her newspaper career at the Belleville News-Democrat after earning a degree in mass communications from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, where she now serves as an adjunct faculty member. She is partial to pomeranians and Cardinals.