• Two Different Foreclosure Plans Get Two Different Reactions

    Two South Loop aldermen introduced legislation to address the growing problem of vacant foreclosed properties, although the advocacy group Action Now supports one while being skeptical of the other. The Chicago Journal reported on October 12, 2011, that while Action Now said the revised version of vacant building legislation from Pat Dowell (3rd Ward) “might not be worth doing,” the group does “unequivocally support” an ordinance from Bob Fioretti (2nd Ward).

    According to the Journal, Dowell’s “new ordinance overly restricts the definition of what properties are considered vacant,” Action Now says. The original version of Dowell’s measure sought to make mortgage servicers holding a property after foreclosure secure and maintain that building unanimously passed the City Council on July 28. Action Now, however, contends that when the banks persuaded Dowell and Mayor Rahm Emanuel to revise the legislation, the advocacy group was not part of the negotiations. The updated legislation, they say, expands the definition of what properties are not vacant.

    Fioretti’s “more modest ordinance,” co-sponsored by Deborah Graham (29th), would make mortgage servicers or whoever else legally holds a vacant property deploy watchmen at abandoned buildings that are within 1,000 feet of schools, according to the Journal. The bank or institution owning the vacant property would pay for the watchmen, Fioretti told the Journal. The alderman also proposed a different ordinance that would set up credit unions in tax increment financing districts, to pool unused TIF money toward the rehabilitation of foreclosed properties.

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  • Your Housing Market Concerns Are Justified

    Are you worried about the housing market? Doug Duncan, chief economist of Fannie Mae, told the Chicago Tribune on October 10, 2011, that you have a right to be. “You have to think of recession scenarios,” Duncan said while in Chicago for the Mortgage Bankers Association’s annual convention. “It’s a coin toss whether or not we have a recession. It’s hard to find a lot to be optimistic about.”

    On the same day of the Tribune story, a monthly consumer sentiment survey from Fannie Mae showed for the fourth consecutive month that a majority of consumers expect home prices to continue declining over the next year. The survey of 1,000 people found that the average annual anticipated price decline of 1.1 percent is the highest expected decline since at least September 2010, according to the Tribune. However, Duncan predicted that home prices of non-distressed properties will fall another 3 percent nationally through mid- 2012, and the anticipated decline would grow to 7 percent if foreclosures and short sales are factored into the equation.

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    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorneys