By Ashley Gross

April 29, 2010

A new report shows a recent spike in foreclosed homes sold at auction in the Chicago region.

The number of homes sold in foreclosure auctions jumped 56 percent in the Chicago area in the first quarter compared with last year. In Chicago, neighborhoods like Uptown and Lincoln Square had much bigger increases. The new numbers come from housing researchers at Woodstock Institute. Geoff Smith of Woodstock says banks usually wind up with these auctioned homes. He says in parts of Chicago, like the south and west sides, bank-owned properties often reach a dead end.

SMITH: Those properties then tend to not sell because those markets are very weak and the communities have been devastated. And so you see an accumulation of these vacant properties, which is sort of a snowball effect, and you see the more these properties accumulate, the weaker the real estate markets become.

Overall, foreclosure filings seem to be leveling off. Woodstock says foreclosure filings in the Chicago area were up just 1 percent over the same quarter last year.

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