• 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.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorney

  • The Young and the Homeless

    An increase in the number of people needing foreclosure help combined with a lack of affordable housing and a state unemployment rate higher than the national average has led to an increase in youth homelessness in Chicago, the Chicago News Cooperative reported on November 4, 2011. Chicago Public Schools data for September showed a record high of 10,660 homeless students enrolled in Chicago’s classrooms this fall, a 16 percent increase over last year.

    Chicago is entering the ninth year of a 10-year Plan to End Homelessness, but the Cooperative noted that the initiative overlooked the young homeless people who can be most vulnerable when living on the streets ever since then-Mayor Richard M. Daley started the program in 2003. With most initiatives concentrating on the chronically homeless and people with disabilities, the city is now working on a new strategy for ending homelessness in Chicago without a 10-year deadline. According to the Cooperative, the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness identified two “special populations” for particular attention: youth and ex-offenders.

    If you are facing foreclosure and trying to keep your home so your kids will not end up on the streets, a bankruptcy means test could be your first step toward ending creditor harassment. Our Chicago bankruptcy lawyer can help you set up your own Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 plan that will allow you to keep your home and reestablish credit.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorney