Report says Ohio foreclosures decline Politics Extra - April 4, 2012

Paul Kostyu

COLUMBUS — The number of foreclosure filings decreased in Ohio for the second year in a row, according to a report released today.

New filings dropped to 71,556 in 2011, a 16 percent decrease from 2010, according to Policy Matters Ohio, a Cleveland-based, left-leaning non-profit research organization. Housing trends, however, show thousands of delinquent properties and underwater mortgages, those worth less than what is owed. 

“Any reduction in foreclosure filings is a good thing,” said David Rothstein in a press release. Rothstein is project director for asset building at Policy Matters and the report’s author.

“It’s clear that mediation and foreclosure prevention programs are making a dent in the number of people losing their homes,” he said. “Ohio policymakers must put more resources into these efforts because we’re still in crisis.”

Cuyahoga County again led the state, with 9.02 filings per 1,000 people and 11,544 foreclosures. The 10 largest counties together accounted for more than 43,000 foreclosures in 2011. Hamilton County with 5,834 filings or 7.27 per 1,000 people rose from 15th to sixth highest in the state even through the county’s filings decreased 11 percent.

Butler County (6.91) was ninth, but filings there decreased from 2010 to 2011 by 20 percent. Clermont’s filings decreased by 18 percent. There was one foreclosure filing for every 71 housing units in the state in 2011. 

The report identified more than 500,000 underwater mortgages, and found that 8 percent of mortgages are seriously delinquent or in foreclosure. The loan-to-value ratio in Ohio is more than 76 percent, meaning Ohio mortgage holders, in total, have less than 25 percent ownership in their home mortgages. 

“While we’re cautiously optimistic about this decrease in foreclosures, we remain very concerned with the dismal indicators on home equity and delinquent loans,” Rothstein said. “They show that more than one in three homes is ‘under water,’ or worth less than homeowners’ mortgages.”

The report calls for increased federal funding for housing modification programs, an extension of the Mortgage Debt Relief Act, and the creation of bonds for demolishing vacant and abandoned properties.  Policy Matters suggest state legislation regulating mortgage servicers, increasing tenant protections during foreclosure, coordinating housing counseling and mediation programs, and banning foreclosure rescue scams.

Report says Ohio foreclosures decline

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