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Court releases data on 2010 Ohio foreclosure filings

The Supreme Court of Ohio released foreclosure data last week showing that foreclosures in the Buckeye State declined in 2010 compared to 2009. The drop in foreclosure filings is the first year-over-year decline in 15 years. Hamilton County saw 6,556 foreclosures filed in 2010, a decrease of 2.4 percent from 2009. The number of foreclosures in Hamilton County ranked third in the state.

Experts attribute the decrease in Ohio foreclosures, in part, to a moratorium on foreclosures after the robo-signing debacle that plagued the nation. Other reasons for the decrease include an increase in the willingness of some banks to negotiate with distressed homeowners, as well as, an increase in short sales, according to experts.

Following the moratorium on foreclosure activity the attorneys general of every state in the union began investigating whether financial institutions violated state laws through the practice of robo-signing. Robo-signing involved employees at the financial institutions signing documents without personally reviewing the files.

Real estate experts believe the foreclosure rate may increase again once the investigation into robo-signing comes to a conclusion. Barbara Busch, executive director of Working in Neighborhoods, a South Cumminsville non-profit says "robo-signing...really held back on a lot of foreclosures. The last two quarters were much slower because of that."

Unemployment also remains high. Foreclosures tend to track unemployment, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Experts say that a new batch of adjustable rate mortgages is scheduled to reset in 2011. Cincinnati bankruptcy attorneys know that many homeowners can fall into financial distress after a reset as the homeowner's new mortgage payment can stress a family budget.

Source: Cincinnati Enquirer, "Ohio foreclosures drop in 2010," 11 Feb 2011

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