Over the last decade, foreclosures have grown and spread in the Chicagoland area to include more outlying collar counties than at the outset, according to data presented by Dan Ball, a research consultant with SGS, Inc. and a member of a panel looking at the impact of foreclosures Monday.

The panel was part of one-day Housing Conference with Gov. Pat Quinn held at the Springfield Hilton in partnership with IAR and the Illinois Real Estate Educational Foundation.

In addition to Ball, the panel included Steve Olson, executive vice president and general counsel of the Illinois Credit Union League, and Tom Thanas, city manager for the city of Joliet.

Looking at Nevada as an example, Ball said many distressed homeowners are strategically defaulting, are unaware of foreclosure assistance programs and believe short sales to be too complex as an option.

Ball said there are four primary factors that distinguish neighborhoods “hit hardest” by foreclosure:

  • Lower educational attainment
  • Higher unemployment rates
  • Lower median household income
  • Lower home values

From the lenders perspective, Olson with the Illinois Credit Union League said financial institutions struggle to balance the push for quick collections with ever-increasing laws and regulations on how to deal with foreclosures.

Joliet’s Tom Thanas said cities like Joliet are making efforts to deal with distressed properties and credited the cooperation of local REALTORS®. He encouraged REALTORS® to among other things, work with their local city hall on the issue.