Almost Half of Chicago Area Underwater

The percentage of homes in the Chicago area with negative equity rose 9 percent from the second quarter, as more than 46 percent of all single-family homes with a mortgage in the Chicago area were underwater in the third quarter, the Chicago Tribune reported on November 7, 2011. According to a report from the real estate website Zillow, Chicago's negative equity percentage far exceeds the national rate of the 28.6 percent of homes with mortgages that were underwater at the end of September. The Tribune also noted that 43.4 percent of all homes sold in the Chicago area in the third quarter sold for a loss, compared to 34.4 percent nationally.

To many homeowners seeking foreclosure help, the numbers might not be too much of a surprise. The Tribune said the report could be an indicator of the demand possible for the Obama administration’s plan to expand its mortgage refinancing program for homeowners unable to take advantage of low mortgage interest rates because of insufficient equity. The Home Affordable Refinance Program could double from the current 894,000 by loosening the lender guidelines for government-backed mortgages and removing the current maximum cap of a 125 percent loan-to-value ratio, according to the Tribune. For those who have been considering a bankruptcy means test to deal with their mortgage problems, HARP reform may not be the silver bullet.

"There’s no one single overarching policy that’s going to get us out of it," Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist, told the Tribune. "The housing economy is not going to get back and operate on all cylinders for four or five years."

If the lack of equity in your home is just one of the problems causing you to consider filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, contact our Chicago bankruptcy lawyer today to see how our firm can help.

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