Numbers can be spun in any way that works for you. The foreclosure numbers that Cook County Circuit Court released on Jan. 13, 2009 are a case in point.
Dorothy Brown, Cook County Clerk, chose this headline, “Cook County Mortgage Foreclosures Spike to 338%: A Ten-Year High.” And, of course, that is correct. In 1999 there were nearly 13,000 foreclosure cases compared to 43,726 in 2008. Her full report can be found here.
Crain’s Business Chicago put a little different spin on the story, “Cook County Foreclosure Cases Up 36% Last Year.” A much softer number?far less dramatic. I did like that Crain’s pointed out that, although this is the largest number ever, it is not the fastest increase. There was a 71% increase in cases in 2007 compared to 2006.
In the County’s statement, Clerk Brown said, “We have to provide information to our citizens about how to correct their mortgage foreclosure situation or, better still, how to avoid becoming a mortgage foreclosure statistic altogether.” In order to do this, last year she organized two Mortgage Foreclosure Education Summits staffed with volunteer attorneys to educate and council people facing foreclosure. She intends to have more of the summits this year throughout Cook County.
The full list of foreclosure cases from 1999 to 2008 are:
- 2008: 43,726
- 2007: 32,269
- 2006: 18,916
- 2005: 15,384
- 2004: 15,618
- 2003: 15,816
- 2002: 17,381
- 2001: 16,235
- 2000: 12,711
- 1999: 12,935