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Real pulse of the economy? Check real estate foreclosures

After the positive speeches at the Executive Club of Chicago's annual forecast for this year, I thought it would be a good idea to go back and look at the foreclosures on houses. You would think that by now the traction of the economy would grip and people would start to be more financially secure, but it does not look that way.

Even though some tech stocks are moving up, the tech sector is still spotty with stocks like Motorola sliding down. They also recently announced a sizable layoff.

Are layoffs and foreclosures tied together? Some think they are. Others think that some people bit off more mortgage than they could handle, especially with adjustable rate mortgages.

The results of looking at the same communities are in the table below. From December, you can see there is definitely a steady rise in foreclosures, and various publications have cited that foreclosures were up dramatically in 2006.

Great economy forecasted
Hearing the economists talk, you would think that we are all poised to go into a great year and hopefully that's true. Some people say that the tech sector is picking up and that upgrading data centers will be a huge initiative because companies have to address Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA requirements for protecting their information and databases.

To be blunt, there are many organizations that have not gotten out of their spending paralysis in technology after 9/11, but now they must address rebuilding an aging tech infrastructure within their enterprise.

With the recent announcements at Motorola and ABN AMRO about job cuts, I do not think that local foreclosures will be subsiding any time soon. To me, it seems like there are pockets of both good and bad economies within the overall economy, so the future is dependent on where you're at within the job market.

Reality in foreclosures

From a recent edition of the Small Business Times, the headline read, “Foreclosures skyrocketed in 2006” in the Midwest:

Milwaukee County's foreclosures increased 51.5 percent to 4,886 in 2006, from 3,225 in 2005. Waukesha County's foreclosures increased 48.8 percent to 558 in 2006, from 375 in 2005; Racine County's foreclosures grew 21 percent to 288, from 238. Foreclosures ripped across the nation's heartland in 2006 in the wake of manufacturing layoffs... The Midwest had 204,656 foreclosure filings in 2006, up more than 70 percent from 120,298 filings in 2005. The Midwest region includes Indiana, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Illinois.

According to RealtyTrac, the current Chicago area looks like this.

HIGHLAND PARK, IL. 105 116 10%
LAKE FOREST, IL. 33 36 10%
LIBERTYVILLE, IL 68 79 Over 15%
LAKE BLUFF, IL. 32 32 No change
DEERFIELD, IL. 73 75 3%
BUFFALO GROVE, IL. 138 152 Over 10%
BERWYN, IL. 456 519 Over 12%
CHICAGO, IL. 20,983 (Total) 23,073 10%
(DOWNTOWN CHICAGO) 60603 856 934 Almost 10%
60611 966 1,059 Almost 10%
60612 968 1,085 Over 10%
BARRINGTON, IL. 198 215 Almost 10%
GLENVIEW, IL. 91 102 Over 10%
NORTHBROOK, IL. 101 121 Over 15%
PARK RIDGE 61 71 Over 15%
ROLLING MEADOWS, IL. 108 114 About 5%
RIVER FOREST, IL. 35 37 About 5%
ROSELLE, IL. 126 131 About 5%
SCHAUMBURG, IL 544 561 Over 5%
WILMETTE, IL. 61 63 About 3%
AURORA 1643 1,798 Almost 10%
BLOOMINGDALE, IL. 116 120 About 3%
DARIEN, IL. 76 80 About 5%
DOWNERS GROVE, IL. 159 183 Over 10%
GLEN ELLYN, IL. 125 130 About 4%
HINSDALE, IL 54 55 Under 2%
LISLE, IL. 110 125 Over 12%
NAPERVILLE, IL. 501 504 Less than 4%
WARRENVILLE, IL. 89 97 Almost 10%
BATAVIA, IL. 137 140 Less than 3%
GENEVA, IL. 111 122 10%
MILWAUKEE, WI 3,297 3,537 Almost 10%
BROOKFIELD, WI. 58 60 Almost 2%
KENOSHA 95 95 No change
RACINE 382 410 Almost 10%

Foreclosures from REALTYTRAC - Compiled by James Carlini

The general trend based on the increases on the table is that most housing markets have some opportunities for people to buy realty at under-market values as foreclosures keep creeping up.

Wait-and-see approach

Foreclosures in Illinois, Wisconsin, and the entire Midwest look like they are still rising, and I am not predicting where they will crest. I will leave that up to the experts. Right now, I will just observe what happens in the next six months and may take another look at later in the year.

CARLINI-ISM: One man's foreclosure is another man's deal of the day.

Copyright 2007 - James Carlini

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James Carlini is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University, and is president of Carlini & Associates. He can be reached at or 773-370-1888. Check out his blog at

The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC.

WTN accepts no legal liability or responsibility for any claims made or opinions expressed herein.


cal responded 8 years ago: #1

Besides the outsourcing of America, the other reason foreclosures are up is because banks' lending standards have slipped. I saw this coming when the home equity loan applications started coming in the mail. Layoffs are a definite factor, just take a look at the Detroit area these days.

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