Report Shows Ohio Foreclosures Rising

Western Star - March 27, 2007

State’s foreclosure crisis ‘worsened substantially in 2006,’ report’s author says.
By Ken McCall and William Hershey

Western Star

Foreclosure filings jumped by almost a quarter in Ohio last year, the largest increase in recent history, a new report has found.

The number of filings in 2006 — 79,000 — represented an almost five-fold increase over 1995, according to the report by the non-profit Policy Matters Ohio.

All but six of the eight counties in the Dayton region had even larger increases for the period, led by Warren County, which has seen its annual foreclosure filings increase more than ninefold since 1995.

In addition, the data show that Montgomery County had the second-highest foreclosure rate in the state last year — 9.4 per 1,000 people — behind only Cuyahoga County.

The new numbers, reported to the Ohio Supreme Court by common pleas court judges across the state, indicate the state’s already severe foreclosure crisis “worsened substantially in 2006,” said the report’s author Zach Shiller.

“We’ve had a growing number of foreclosure filings for quite some time,” Schiller said. “What happened last year is a new spike in foreclosure filings. And it seems highly likely we’ll see an additional increase in 2007. The data show people are falling behind.”

A report earlier this month by the Mortgage Bankers Association found that delinquent loans — those that are at least 30 days behind in payment — increased to almost 5 percent nationwide during the last quarter of 2006.

It also found that Ohio had the highest rate of loans in foreclosure of all the states.

Schiller said his report shows that the state and nation need stronger loan regulation “to make sure loans are made with the borrower’s true financial situation in mind.”

Ohio’s weak economy has played a part in the foreclosure surge, he said, but loans made to borrowers who can’t afford them was a bigger factor.

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