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Southeast Wisconsin counties show fewer foreclosures in 2012

The housing market shows signs of slowly improving, as foreclosure filings declined for the third year in a row in 2012 in southeastern Wisconsin. According to court documents, filings dropped more than 2 percent from 2011, with about 10,500 foreclosures in seven counties. In some cases, Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which allows for debt reorganization, could have contributed to the decline.

Housing sales continue to improve, and prices have remained low as the slow but steady market shows evidence of recovery. Some in the region are optimistic that 2013 will continue on an upward trend and that foreclosures will continue to drop as the economy strengthens.

However, foreclosures continue to negatively impact home sale prices across the nation. Almost one-fourth of homes sold in southeastern Wisconsin are foreclosure sales or short sales, which are done so the borrower can avoid a foreclosure and having his or her credit ruined. Historically, short sales make up a maximum of 12 percent of the area's market; lower-priced short sales and foreclosures affect the pricing of other homes in the neighborhood. However, the flood of distressed homes in the market shows signs of decreasing, while the normal real estate market should pick up the pace. Many of those who are buying foreclosures are investors, who resell or rent the homes.

Home owners who want to avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes could consider filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. A bankruptcy attorney can advise clients on how to stop creditor harassment and help them make a fresh financial start by coming up with a debt-repayment plan that could give you the financial freedom to begin paying your mortgage again.

Source: JSOnline, "Foreclosure filings in southeastern Wisconsin drop for third straight year," Paul Gores, Jan. 2, 2013

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