By Francine Knowles

April 29, 2010

The number of Chicago metropolitan area homes lost to completed foreclosure auctions jumped 56 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier to the highest level since the beginning of the mortgage crisis in 2006. That is according to a Woodstock Institute report that indicates foreclosure prevention efforts haven’t worked for many.

There were 9,302 completed foreclosure auctions in the six-county region the first three months of this year, the report showed.

In the city of Chicago, the number jumped 59 percent to 3,489, and in Cook County, they spiked 61.3 percent to 6,514.

The increases are likely tied in part to the Jan. 31 end of restrictions that prevented mortgage servicers from completing foreclosures on any homeowner who had applied for help through the Obama administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program and the lifting of moratoriums on foreclosure sales instituted by many major financial institutions over the December holidays, the Woodstock Institute said.

The vast majority of the properties sold at auction were repossessed by the lenders, or so-called real estate owned homes, according to the Institute.

In some positive news, the report showed a 12.4 percent year-over-year drop in overall foreclosure filings in the city of Chicago in the first quarter from a year earlier to 4,995. In Cook County, filings fell 4.7 percent to 10,449. They rose 1 percent in the six-county region to 17,996.

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