Report Finds Spike In Home Foreclosure Filings

Gongwer News Service - March 26, 2007

Gongwer News Service

Home foreclosure filings in Ohio continued to rise in 2006 with nearly 80,000 new filings, a 23.6% increase over the previous year, according to a Policy Matters Ohio report released Monday.

Last year’s foreclosure spike is the largest absolute gain in the state’s recent history and follows three years of more modest increases, says Policy Matters, a group that researches issues affecting low income Ohioans.

“Foreclosures have become a pervasive problem in Ohio,” stated Zach Schiller, Policy Matters research director and author of the report. “Additional steps should be taken to provide relief to borrowers harmed by abusive lending practices and to bolster protection for home buyers.”

The study comes after a year that saw substantial legislative activity aimed at reigning in “predatory” lenders blamed partly for Ohio’s soaring home foreclosure rate.

The General Assembly enacted a new measure designed to curb predatory lending practices in the state by applying the Consumer Sales Practices Act to the mortgage lending industry ( SB 185 ). The law went into effect at the beginning of 2007 and, as such, any resulting impact would not be reflected in the report.

The legislature later passed separate legislation that limited economic damages under the CSPA to $5,000 ( SB 117 ), a measure that “took some of the teeth out of the new law,” the report says. Gov. Ted Strickland vetoed the bill, passed under the previous General Assembly, an action that is now the subject of litigation. (See Gongwer Ohio Report, February 2, 2007)

Some of the report’s findings:

–Foreclosure filings generally grew faster in urban counties.

–78 of Ohio’s 88 counties saw an increase in the number of filings in 2006.

–The number of filings grew by 20% or more in 46 counties, with Cuyahoga County leading the state at 13,610 filings, followed by Montgomery and Summit counties.

–Over the last 10 years filings grew by nearly 400%.

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