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Economy and Business

Ohio's foreclosures are down, but underwater mortgages remain a specter
Two reports show the good and bad of Ohio's housing picture

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
About a quarter of Northeast Ohio homeowners still face problem mortgages.
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In The Region:

A pair of reports released this week provides the proverbial good news/bad news look at the housing picture in Ohio. WKSU’S M.L. Schultze has more on the story of foreclosure and underwater mortgages.

LISTEN: Foreclosures and other mortgage problems in NE Ohio

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The Ohio Supreme Court report has the good news. Foreclosures were down statewide last year for the fourth year in a row – and about 40 percent from 2009. To varying degrees, all of Northeast Ohio shared in the good news:  from a 25 percent drop in Ashtabula County to a 57 percent plummet in Carroll. 

Deonna Kirkpatrick works with a group called Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People, which provides foreclosure assistance.

She celebrates the good news, but adds a caution, citing another report that shows the Cleveland metropolitan area continues to rank in the top 15 in the country in people who are “underwater” on their mortgages. She says when people owe a lot more than their houses are worth, the risks are huge. 

“If you have equity in your home and you need to make a housing repair, your furnace blows or things like that, you can use some of that equity in your house. Or you’re retiring, that becomes an asset for you to fall back on. If you don’t have that equity in your home, you are much more likely, twice as likely in fact, to be at risk of foreclosure.” 

Foreclosures in Ohio started climbing before they did nationally, beginning in the mid-to late 1990s.



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