By Rowena Vergara
December 10, 2008 
Tom Baumgartner is on the front lines of the housing collapse. The Kane
County sheriff’s lieutenant has to coordinate sales on properties that
have been foreclosed.

Back in March, Baumgartner estimated 900 more properties, mostly
homes, would be foreclosed by October. He was way off. As of Dec. 3,
the Kane County sheriff’s office had recorded more than 2,700 homes
sold into foreclosure — 2,168 since Baumgartner’s prediction.

"I don’t see this as the bottom of it," he said, adding that he expects the problem to continue into 2009.

The largest spike in foreclosure sales throughout Kane and Kendall counties occurred in the second half of this year.

Baumgartner said 2,726 properties have sold in foreclosure so far
— up 36 percent from last year. A similar trend is taking place in
Kendall County, where foreclosures are up nearly 40 percent from last

In 2007, 149 foreclosed properties were sold in Kendall County,
Sheriff Richard Randall said Dec. 3. So far this year, 208 properties
have been sold.

Foreclosure statistics by city are even more telling of a national
crisis that is hitting blocks, neighborhoods and subdivisions
throughout the Fox Valley.

According to a regional foreclosure report by Chicago-based
Woodstock Institute, the city of Aurora had 805 foreclosure filings in
the first half of this year, compared to 1,031 for all of 2007.

If the trend continues, Aurora could be on pace for more than 1,350 foreclosures by the end of this year.

The report also found that Aurora leads the Chicagoland area in
most foreclosure filings outside Chicago for the first half of this
year. Data is based on filings in the 100 largest communities
(excluding Chicago) in the region.

In St. Charles, foreclosures were up 38.5 percent. In Geneva, they were up 15.6 percent.

Batavia was one of four communities that saw a drop in foreclosures
— down 16.3 percent. About 36 foreclosures were filed in the first six
months this year, compared to 43 filings from January to June 2007.

Baumgartner says buyer interest in such properties has not ceased.
About 10 to 15 investors show up every Thursday to bid on properties,
he said. These buyers must put down 10 percent of the total amount on
the spot, and full payment is required within 24 hours.

"It’s not your average John Q. Public," Baumgartner said.

Sales are conducted by sheriff’s departments. In Kane County they
are held at 9 a.m. every Thursday at the Kane County Courthouse.
Kendall property sales are held at 8:30 a.m. at the Kendall County

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