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RISMEDIA, February 22, 2010—Sales of distressed residential properties accounted for at least 34% of all attached and detached home sales reported in the metropolitan Chicago real estate market during 2009, according to the RE/MAX Northern Illinois real estate network.

RE/MAX found that in the metro market, distressed properties accounted for 35.8% of suburban home sales and 31.1% of sales in the City of Chicago in 2009.

RE/MAX examined home sales tracked by Midwest Real Estate Data, LLC (MRED) for the counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will. MRED asks agents to identify if a property they are representing is a foreclosure, short sale or court ordered sale, all of which can be considered distressed properties.

“In the last two to three years, distressed properties have gone from being a small portion of the residential marketplace to a significant one,” said Jim Merrion, regional director of the RE/MAX Northern Illinois real estate network. “The RE/MAX Northern Illinois network had the foresight to see that trend emerging two years ago, and in early 2008 we put a distressed properties search tool on our website.

Recently, RE/MAX International has done the same, and a distressed properties portal can be found on its international website. Buyers and investors can search at no charge more than 1.3 million foreclosed properties around the country using data provided by RealtyTrac and RE/MAX.”

Of the 248 suburban market areas reviewed by RE/MAX in the metropolitan Chicago real estate market, distressed properties accounted for 50% or more of all 2009 home sales in 66 areas, with 44 of those areas in Cook County. In the City of Chicago, distressed sales were 50% or more of all transactions in 37 of the city’s 77 official neighborhoods.

Winnetka, Kenilworth and the Chicago neighborhood of Lincoln Park all had distressed sales of less than 4.8%, the lowest level of all market areas studied. Two other city neighborhoods, Lake View and North Center, had a distressed sales rate of less than 6%. Foreclosures accounted for 70% of distressed sales, while 28% were short sales.

“We continue to see problems with securing lender approval and processing of short sales even though these transactions typically bring more money for a property than can be obtained after foreclosure,” said Merrion. Late last year, the United States Treasury Department issued new guidelines designed to encourage lenders to accelerate the frequency and pace of short sales.

“We hope the short sale process will be streamlined and sped up substantially in the year ahead as lenders respond to those guidelines,” Merrion said.

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