CHICAGO AREA RIVALS DETROIT IN FORECLOSURES, THANKS TO SKY-HIGH PROPERTY TAXES

HOMEOWNERS NEED A BREAK. SPRINGFIELD MUST PASS PROPERTY TAX RELIEF!  –  ALLEN

By Gail MarksJarvis Chicago Tribune

Chicago is struggling to rid itself of vacant bank-owned homes.

The number of these ill-kept structures brought on by the housing crisis has spiked more than 90 percent over a year ago, according to a new report from Attom Data Solutions.

Daren Blomquist, senior vice president of Attom, says the reason for the increase is that many homes have been in foreclosure for years and consequently are in very bad shape and difficult to sell. “They are in the least desirable neighborhoods, and that’s why the banks were slow to sell them,” he said. “No one has really been taking care of them.”

CHICAGO HAS THE SECOND-MOST VACANT BANK-OWNED HOMES IN THE COUNTRY AFTER DETROIT, ACCORDING TO ATTOM, PARENT OF REALTYTRAC.

In its third-quarter report, Attom said Chicago had 2,379 empty homes that are finished with the foreclosure process and waiting to be sold by banks. That’s up from 1,240 homes from a year ago, an increase of 92 percent. Detroit has 2,386 vacant bank-owned properties, while Miami has 1,880, Philadelphia 1,737, and New York 1,668.

Much of the nation’s foreclosure inventory has been sold thanks to buyers looking for deals and banks were able to get a good price as the number of available homes for sale has tightened.

Foreclosures in the Chicago area declined 21 percent compared with the same time last year, said Attom. So, while there are fewer foreclosures, more buildings are sitting vacant as banks prepare to sell them.

Nationwide, there were almost 1.4 million properties vacant and actively in the foreclosure process in the third quarter, down 9 percent from a year ago, said Attom, which examines data for 85 million properties.

gmarksjarvis@chicagotribune.com