Late last week the Tribune ran a story with the following headline Chicago area foreclosures soar 20% in 2010. While their story is based upon the same data source that I use (RealtyTrac) I'm not sure the story sends the right message. First of all it's based upon foreclosure data for a very large area that includes much more than the city of Chicago. In addition, it looks at the entire year of 2010. When you look at just the city of Chicago and you look at the monthly data things don't look that bad.
What this shows is that in the last few months foreclosure activity has been significantly lower than last year and November and December were among the lowest activity months during 2010.
In addition, when you look at the impact of foreclosures on the real estate market it's actually been dramatically declining the last few months, with November and December reaching new lows for the last year and a half. In the next day or two I'll be updating my December numbers, which will include the percent of sales which are distressed. Because that includes short sales I find that to be a more reliable indicator of the impact that distressed properties are having on the market.