- Associated Press - Saturday, July 18, 2015

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - Ohio foreclosures have fallen to the lowest level since the Great Recession through the first half of the year, according to a new report.

California-based analytics firm RealtyTrac said there were nearly 30,000 properties in Ohio with foreclosure filings, down 16 percent from the same period a year ago.

RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist told the Dayton Daily News (https://bit.ly/1KcI3aN) U.S. foreclosures have fallen too.

“U.S. foreclosures have not only returned to pre-housing-crisis levels, they have fallen well below those pre-crisis levels and are still searching for a floor,” he said.

The report said Ohio’s foreclosure levels are the lowest they’ve been since the end of 2009.

Despite the drop, Ohio still has one of the nation’s highest foreclosure rates.

The foreclosure numbers should be put in perspective, said Kal Mughrabi, of Coldwell Banker Heritage Realtors in Springboro. He said Ohio was once the nation’s leader in foreclosure activity during the peak of the housing crisis.

“There’s no doubt there has been a decrease in the number of foreclosures taking place,” Mughrabi said. “But a lot of those decreases are from all-time highs. The local market was once flooded with foreclosures - as high as 25 to 27 percent of all transactions. That number has been cut in half.”

He said there’s still more work to be done, particularly regarding so-called zombie foreclosures, or homes in the foreclosure process not yet owned by the bank. These homes have been vacated by their owners.

“If you go to some neighborhoods you will see houses that have been vacant for more than a year,” Mughrabi said. “That’s a concern because when a property sits vacant and the bank does not finish the foreclosure process it hurts the overall market, and I still think there’s a healthy amount of those properties sitting around.”

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Information from: Dayton Daily News, https://www.daytondailynews.com

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