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Ohio foreclosures drop, but remain high

Norwalk Reflector Staff • May 13, 2014 at 2:07 PM

Despite a welcome 25 percent drop, Ohio foreclosures in 2013 remained at highly elevated levels, according to the annual foreclosure report released today by Policy Matters Ohio. Last year's 53,163 new foreclosure filings was 2½ times the average annual total during the 1990s.

The study, based on Ohio Supreme Court data, noted that when Policy Matters first analyzed foreclosures because of dramatic growth, the number had reached 43,419 in 2001, or well below last year's total.

"Despite the high level of foreclosures, the state recently cut off new applications to its main effort to help homeowners avoid foreclosure," said Zach Schiller, Policy Matters research director and author of the study. "We need to find the resources to continue that important effort and to combat the blight caused by the foreclosure crisis. Communities need hundreds of millions of dollars to tear down or rehabilitate the tens of thousands of vacant and abandoned houses that threaten neighborhoods across Ohio."

Cuyahoga County led the state in 2013 for the ninth year in a row with the highest foreclosure rate.

For the ninth year in a row, Cuyahoga County topped the list of counties with the highest foreclosure rates with nearly 7 foreclosures per 1,000 people (see Table 1). Six of the top 10 counties – Cuyahoga, Preble, Lake, Brown, Hamilton and Clinton – were also among the top 10 with the highest rates in 2012. No. 3 Preble County has been in the top 10 every year since 2007. Other counties also have regularly had among the highest rates. Brown County, No. 8 in 2013, ranked among the top 10 in three of the previous four years. No. 6 Lake County and No. 9 Hamilton County have now found themselves among this group for three years in a row. On the other hand, Erie, Richland and Jackson counties, which were among the top 10 in 2013, had not ranked that high any time over the past decade. Lucas and Montgomery counties, which had been in the top 10 every year from 2004 to 2012, fell out of the top ranking; they ranked 17th and 18th, respectively, in 2013. Summit County also fell out of the top 10 from a year earlier, ranking 12th last year. 

Table 1 shows that the number of foreclosure filings is high in counties scattered all over Ohio, north and south, east and west. They include urban, rural and suburban counties – among the top 10 are two of Ohio’s three most populous counties, and four with populations of less than 45,000.

The largest decreases occurred in Shelby, Adams, Gallia and Wayne counties, each of which saw a drop of more than 40 percent in 2013 from a year earlier. Another 20 counties saw drops of at least 30 percent. As in the past, Cuyahoga County had the highest number of filings with 8,829 as well as the highest foreclosure filing rate in 2013. The decline in filings for the state was mirrored closely by the drop in Ohio’s 10 most populous counties, where the number fell by an almost equal 25 percent. The fall was similar across the big urban counties, ranging from a decline of 23 percent in Cuyahoga County to nearly 30 percent in Montgomery and Butler counties. Two large counties, Stark and Lorain, had lower foreclosure rates per 1,000 people than the state average of nearly 4.6. Table 2 shows foreclosure filings in Ohio’s ten largest counties in 2000 and 2013.

To see the full report, click HERE.

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