By Bill Smith
February 22, 2010

The surge in foreclosures in Evanston over the past three years appears to be tapering off, at least temporarily.

Data from shows that the number of foreclosures tripled from 14 in 2006 to 43 in 2007 and then nearly doubled again to 75 in 2008

But the rate of increase slowed in 2009, to a total of 83 foreclosures. And, foreclosures so far in 2010 have slowed dramatically, to just four.

By comparison, January and February saw a total of 18 foreclosures in Evanston last year, 12 in 2008 and four in 2007.

A variety of factors can affect the short-term pace of foreclosure activity, and it’s too soon to be sure that the crisis actually is ebbing.

A Chicago non-profit, the Woodstock Institute, tracks all foreclosure filings — including properties where loans are eventually brought back up to date by borrowers, and ones in which a privately arranged short-sale for less than the amount owed on the loan is eventually worked out.

Blockshopper lists only those foreclosures that end up in a court-ordered sale of the property in which the bank generally ends up owning the home.

Woodstock Institute data shows all foreclosure filings in Evanston increasing 26 percent from 2008 to 2009, with a 33 percent increase in the last half of the year. That was roughly the same as the increase for the six-county Chicago metro region as a whole, but lower than the rate of increase for much of the rest of northern Cook County.

The full year totals for Evanston reported by Woodstock were 267 in 2008 and 336 in 2009.

Evanston’s community and economic development director, Leeman Walker, says his department is now monitoring about 200 vacant buildings in the city.

In a memo to aldermen, he said the top five lenders filing foreclosure actions against Evanston properties last year were Deutsche Bank, with 25 filings; BAC Home Loans with 21; JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo, with 15 each; and US Bank with 14.

The memo did not indicate how large a share of the overall home mortgage market in Evanston those institutions have.

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