Foreclosure filings in Ohio are down for the first time in 15 years but housing advocates aren't celebrating yet. ideastream's Mhari Saito reports.
The number of lenders filing foreclosure suits in Ohio courts fell four percent in 2010 from the year previous - the first drop in filings after a steady 15 year climb. The state's most populous county, Cuyahoga, has long been a heavy contributor to the foreclosure problem. At one point during the housing crisis, certain Cleveland zip codes had some of the highest foreclosure rates in the country. But filings in Cleveland and its surrounding suburbs fell nine percent in 2010 to 12,825 cases, that's the lowest level since 2005, when foreclosure filings started to spike in Northeast Ohio. Bill Faith heads the nonprofit Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio. He says its important to remember that the country's largest lenders imposed foreclosure moratoriums last fall in the wake of a scandal over employees signing and notarizing legal documents without reading them.
Bill Faith: So they shut off foreclosures for a period of time and slowed them down even though it looks like now they are back to full force on processing.
That slow down, Faith says, coupled with improved loan modification efforts could account for the statewide drop. Foreclosure filings around Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati stayed steady. The state's Supreme Court numbers also show that foreclosures grew last year in some rural areas, especially in the state's southeast.