• Illinois Will Need Jobs to Recover From Housing Crisis

    Illinois will be one of the last states to recover from the housing crisis, the Chicago Tribune reported on November 4, 2011. Economists with the trade group the National Association of Home Builders said that unlike the problems holding back Arizona and Nevada, recovery for Illinois will hinge on jobs. Unemployment in the state rose to 10 percent in September, the first time the rate hit double digits since August 2010.

    According to the Tribune, the average number of single-family housing starts in Illinois was 44,431 annually from 2000 to 2003. After housing starts bottomed out at 17 percent of their normal level in 2009, Illinois builders will be constructing 27 percent of the normal range by the end of next year and starts will grow to 42 percent of normal activity by 2013.

    The good news to come out of the forecast would have to be that more consumers are purchasing homes that are much more affordable. Many of those now seeking foreclosure help purchased homes that were as much as five times their income, but the Tribune noted that the trend is “back to more realistic levels as a result of lower home values and tight credit underwriting.” David Crowe, chief economist of the builders’ group, told the Tribune, “There does seem to be some resettling of house prices down to what people can afford.”

    One would certainly hope that the trend could reduce the number of consumers needing to file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, although there remains a significant number of families for whom that may remain the best option. If you are in dire straits financially, contact our Chicago bankruptcy lawyer to see how our firm can help.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorney

  • Nobody’s Safe from Foreclosure

    Just days after Richard Branson’s Virgin Hotels brand announced it would be working with the John Buck Co. to convert the 27-story Dearborn Bank Building at 203 N. Wabash into a 250-room hotel, Crain’s Chicago Business reported on October 26, 2011, that the chairman and CEO of the Chicago-based firm is now facing foreclosure on a personal investment. Developer John Buck was sued on October 7, the day after a loan on an Oak Brook office building matured with a balance of $27.6 million. As Crain’s said, the news shows “that not even Chicago’s savviest real estate practitioners can avoid trouble in the current market.”

    Calling the lawsuit a “rare blemish” for Buck, Crain’s also noted that “foreclosure suits don’t carry much shame in the current market, where many reputable borrowers voluntarily default because their properties are worth so much less than their debt, wiping out their investment.” The Oak Brook building is 91 percent leased, but Crain’s noted that 85 percent of the leases are scheduled to expire by 2013 and cable provider Comcast, which occupies roughly 70 percent of the building, has a lease that expires in April and renewal terms would require “significant rent concessions.”

    Crain’s said it is unclear if Buck will challenge the foreclosure suit, “but many borrowers in his situation see no point in bothering.” While many homeowners might enjoy the thought of simply cutting their losses and walking away from a property that has been hit hard by the housing market, the truth is that a majority still want some sort of foreclosure help that will help keep them and their families in their homes. You should know that whatever unfortunate twist of fate might have contributed to your financial troubles, filing a bankruptcy means test can be the first step in determining the best type of bankruptcy for your situation. Our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers can answer all of your questions and help you work with your debtors to improve your situation. A Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy can allow you to consolidate, eliminate or reorganize your debt, and our firm can help when you contact our office to set up a free consultation.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorneys

  • Illinois Unemployment Rate Hits Double-Digits Again

    The jobless rate in Illinois hit 10 percent for the first time since August 2010 after unemployment in the state rose in September for the fifth straight month, Crain’s Chicago Business reported on October 20, 2011. The Illinois Department of Employment Security “blamed the increase on continued weakness in consumer confidence nationwide but noted a sharp drop in construction jobs in September,” although industry experts told Crain’s that a multibillion-dollar state budget deficit is holding back government construction spending.

    While the Department of Employment Security reported Illinois employers created 1,600 new jobs in September, the number of unemployed people rose to 663,300. The latest figure is 10,500 more than in August and an increase of 1.6 percent, but Crain’s noted that state unemployment rates “do not include people who haven’t looked for work in the previous month, so the real number of unemployed, while not tracked at the state level, is higher.”

    Construction employers suffered the biggest losses with 3,000 jobs cut in September, falling from 205,200 jobs to 202,200. Crain’s said the biggest increase was among employers of educational and health services workers, who added 4,900 jobs in September for a total 854,500.

    Are you one of the state residents who recently became unemployed? Or have you been out of work and unable to fund a new job for many months? Has your employment situation made it difficult to pay bills and left you seeking foreclosure help ? Even without a job, a bankruptcy means test can help determine a better way for you to manage your financial obligations. Our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers can help you end debt collector harassment through a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You have the right to keep your home even when you are struggling to find work, and our firm can help you do that when you contact our office for a free consultation.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorneys

  • Chicago Business Owners More Pessimistic Than Optimistic

    Economic and job recovery will persist, and the slow pace of growth will be insufficient to make much progress in lowering Chicago’s high unemployment rate in the coming year, PNC Bank said in a new study. The Chicago Tribune reported on October 8, 2011, that small and midsize-business owners in Chicago are less optimistic about the economy and prospects of a recovery in the short term.

    After 23 percent of the 150 business owners surveyed in the spring said they were optimistic about their company’s prospects for the next six months, the most recent study found only 14 percent reported feeling optimistic. Conversely, the Tribune reported that 53 percent of participants interviewed between July 26 and Sept. 12 felt pessimistic about the local economy, compared with 39 percent in the spring.

    Furthermore, results also revealed that 38 percent of local business owners plan to raise their prices, and 92 percent of that group said they are doing so “to avoid a profit squeeze from higher costs,” according to the Tribune.

    Is this starting to sound familiar? Have you seen your income decrease while seemingly every other cost of living increases? You should know that if you are struggling through hard times, a bankruptcy means test can help you achieve an affordable bankruptcy now. Our Chicago bankruptcy attorneys can answer all of your questions surrounding the Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 processes and determine which filing will help you eliminate bills and stop foreclosure. If you want to get deserved relief today and end creditor harassment, contact our office now to set up a free consultation.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyers