Ohio foreclosures declining, still above average
Posted August 06, 2019 in Press Releases
Ohio’s 2018 foreclosure rate is 4.6 percent lower than in 2017, according to a new report by Policy Matters Ohio. The 33,527 foreclosures Ohio had in 2018 are a little more than one-third of the 89,053 the state experienced in 2009, when the housing crisis was in full swing.
The report tracks foreclosures in all 88 counties, identifies counties with the highest rates and makes recommendations for how lawmakers can drive the rate down further. While overall, foreclosures are moving in the right direction, rates are still far above what they were in the mid-1990s, prior to the foreclosure crisis, and by some accounts, Ohio's foreclosure rate is among the top 10 states. Foreclosures in 28 Ohio counties rose between 2017 and 2018.
The problem is most prevalent in Ohio’s 10 most heavily-populated counties, which account for 58 percent of the state’s foreclosures. Foreclosures increased in only one of these 10, Cuyahoga County. For the second year in a row, Guernsey County has the state’s highest rate, at 7.57 per 1,000 people. The top 10 list is dominated by rural counties such as Coshocton (6.06 per 1,000 people), Morrow (5.01) and Jackson (4.76). It also includes counties that are home to Ohio’s bigger cities such as Mahoning (4.62) and Cuyahoga (4.51).
Rural communities, where people have less access to good-paying jobs; and black communities that are targeted by predatory lenders are especially vulnerable to foreclosures. The report calls for Ohio lawmakers to support House Bill 103, which would better regulate land contracts (rent-to-own schemes) by requiring inspections, appraisals, compliance with local building codes, and legal representation. The report also recommends more resources for the Ohio Housing Trust Fund which helps low-income homeowners by improving conditions, expanding services, and making housing opportunities affordable. The report applauds lawmakers for adding between $2.5 and $3.5 million to the Housing Trust Fund in the just-passed budget.
“Ohioans need affordable, secure housing if they are to work, be healthy, and thrive. Better funding and regulation can build stronger communities by ensuring all of our neighbors have a decent place to live,” said report author Ayame Whitfield. “Large numbers of foreclosures concentrated in one area can devastate the entire economy, as we saw in the Great Recession. We need policies that can protect us in case we experience another downturn.”