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2010 Wisconsin foreclosure data now available-state foreclosures remain steady

State foreclosures remain steady from 2009 to 2010

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Housing foreclosures remained high but steady across the state in 2010 according to data compiled by the University of Wisconsin-Extension Center for Community & Economic Development and the UW-Whitewater.

  • Spreadsheets above will be updated with 2010 Portage County data as soon as it is available

Overall, there was a slight decline of 2.0% in foreclosures statewide from the fourth quarter of 2009 but at the time of publication data from Portage County was not yet included in the state totals*.  From 2009 to 2010 the number of housing foreclosures in Wisconsin fell slightly from 28,725 filings in 2009 to 28,453 filings in 2010.  Calculations are based on non-duplicated foreclosure cases filed in civil court for each Wisconsin county.

“This represents a statewide average of one foreclosure case for every 91 housing units,” says Laura Brown, community development specialist with UW-Extension. A housing unit is defined as a house, an apartment, a mobile home, a group of rooms, or a single room that is occupied (or if vacant, is intended for occupancy) as separate living quarters. “Milwaukee County accounts for the greatest percentage, 21.7%, of foreclosures in the state for the two-year total of 2009 and 2010.”

Brown says foreclosures have risen by more than 340 percent since 2000 when 6,407 foreclosures were recorded.

While some housing experts are hopeful the stable numbers for 2010 might indicate that the foreclosure crisis has reached its peak, most agree that it will take years to return to the levels more common in 2000-2005. In those years, foreclosure cases averaged about 9,550 annually.

“Despite the steady numbers in 2010, foreclosures remain a serious issue for many areas of the state,” says Russ Kashian, a UW-Whitewater economist who focuses on housing and foreclosure issues. “The problem is no longer just about subprime mortgages. Many of the foreclosures in Wisconsin’s communities can be more directly linked to income levels, long-term unemployment and educational attainment.”

Kashian estimates that for every 1% increase in unemployment, there is a corresponding 7 to 11 percent increase in foreclosures.

Extension community economic development specialist Matt Kures created maps to highlight how foreclosures varied in counties across the state at It should be noted that significant percentage increases in some very rural counties across the state represent a comparatively small number of foreclosures.

For more information about foreclosure data, please contact Laura Brown at the Center or Community & Economic Development or visit