After several months of noting significant discrepancies between RealtyTrac's foreclosure sales numbers for Chicago and those coming out of the MLS I've decided to stop reporting the RealtyTrac numbers. I'm replacing their data with my own data on the percentage of home sales that are distressed - either short sales or foreclosures. What the MLS numbers show is a fairly large percentage - in excess of 40% through most of 2010. The surprising thing for me is that this percentage has been fairly high for quite some time - in excess of 30% since early 2009. Unfortunately, I'm afraid to extend this data series further back in time because I'm not convinced that the MLS was properly tracking it back then - the percentages do come out a lot lower.
Just to clarify, I will still be reporting RealtyTrac's foreclosure activity numbers for Chicago, which look at official notices or actions related to foreclosure.