Last week, there was a lot of talk about foreclosures and plans to stop foreclosure, but will anyone ever take action? As we all know, public officials, including the president, all like to talk about their “big plans” once they take office, but very few ever deliver. Only time will tell if government offices have the ability to stop foreclosure, but if history has proven one thing, it’s this: Be very skeptical of anything an elected official promises!
In Chicago, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger is leading the efforts to impose a year long moratorium on foreclosures. Stroger is gathering signatures, speaking at public engagements, and sponsoring workshops throughout Illinois to help foreclosure victims. Entering 2008, Chicagoland foreclosure rates were at an all time high, but home sales are beginning to turn around and foreclosure rates are beginning to flatten out. Home sales are up 25% which will help the overall economy, but home values are still decreasing in many areas. Overall home appraisals within the city of Chicago are down over 5% from last year.
Michigan activists and public officials are joining together this week in Lansing to march in a parade to halt foreclosures for up to two years. Michigan is one of the hardest hit states when it comes to foreclosure and decreased property values. The state senate bill protect homeowners for a period of 6-24 months, while giving would be foreclosure victims a chance to get back on their feet. Michigan foreclosure rates were up 27% from last year, which is actually an improvement from previous months. Foreclosure rates throughout Michigan were up over 100% in previous months! Michigan is still easily one of the top 10 states for foreclosure filings, but rates are significantly decreasing.
Last weekend, Sept 7th to be exact, the government officially took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Both of these organizations were created by the government and Fannie Mae was previously run by the government, so it’s not really much of a surprise. By taking back these organizations, they hope to provide stabilization throughout the economy, by proving that the US government will stand behind our lenders and continue to guarantee low cost mortgage throughout the US. The end result of this “conservatorship” probably be the American tax payers bearing the brunt of the foreclosure crises, to the tune of about $200 Billion. Senators nationwide are asking the newly appointed Chief Executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to temporarily stop all foreclosures to allow local governments and home owners to find other options to stop foreclosure.
While foreclosures in many states such as Nevada, California, and Arizona still seem to be increasing, other states like Tennessee and Idaho are leveling off. Based on 2007 foreclosure rates, Tennessee rates are nearly identical. This may represent an improvement, but the state still has 13th highest foreclosure rates, with over 1 in 600 homes in foreclosure. Nationwide, about 1 in 400 homes have received some type of foreclosure notice. The top ten states in foreclosure rates were Nevada, California, Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Georgia, Ohio, Colorado, Illinois and Indiana, in that order. Although Michigan, Georgia, Ohio and Colorado all reported rate decreases and may soon find themselves dropping from the dreaded top 10 list.