By Lisa Parker

May 13, 2010

There was some reason for optimism in the housing world Thursday, as positive numbers emerged for the first time since the housing crisis began. But Illinois’ numbers were not part of the party.

RealtyTrac, a company that tracks and crunches housing data for much of the housing industry, said its April numbers continued to show staggering losses, but also offered a glimmer of good news.

In its report, April numbers showed for the first time foreclosure activity down in some areas. However, the number of homes repossessed, the final stage of foreclosure, were up 45 percent from April of last year.

Illinois remained in the top five states with the highest foreclosure filings.

Also out Thursday, a report from the Chicago-based Woodstock Institute that is certain to be controversial.

In it, the authors allege a new pattern of redlining emerged during the tail end of the housing boom and the beginning of the bust, from 2006 to 2008. The report, which looked at data from seven U.S. cities including Chicago, reveals a precipitous decline in prime lending to communities of color, as compared to white neighborhoods.

Some mortgage professionals took issue with the report’s data, saying it was no longer relevant to the new, stricter loan guidelines in place today, and say loans are down to communities where unemployment is up, regardless of the skin color of community residents.

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