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Economy and Business

As the nation recovers from housing bust, Ohio still lags behind
While there are some positive signs, Ohio's recovery has been slow

Lyndsey Schley
Ohio is still lagging behind the nation in foreclosure recovery.
Courtesy of Taber Andrew Bain
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In The Region:

Nationally, foreclosure rates are at their lowest since 2006 but Ohio is still lagging behind the nation in the recovery.

RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist says that Ohio has the sixth highest foreclosure rate in the nation for the first half of 2014. He says one of the reasons for that lag is that Ohio requires judges to sign off on foreclosures.


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“It’s a state that because of a lengthy process to foreclose has taken longer to clear out some of the foreclosure inventory which is why it’s ranking high even as some of the previously hard hit states are falling down in the rankings," Blomquist says.

“Many would argue that [process] gives more protection to homeowners to make sure they’re avoiding improper foreclosure, but one of the consequences of it, especially when you go through a period of very high volume of foreclosures like we’ve seen in the last seven years, that system is more susceptible to slowdowns and delays.”

Blomquist says while the overall number of foreclosures went down during the first half of 2014, new filings went up by 17 percent after consistent decreases over the last few months.

He says the rise may be caused by more complex foreclosure cases, which take more time.

Drilling down to the local level
Ohio metropolitan areas did not rank well, either. Akron had the 17th highest foreclosure rate out of more than 200 areas in the country. Cleveland was not far behind, ranking 19th. He says this may be because of Ohio requires judges to sign off on foreclosures.

Blomquist says there is some good news. While the Northeast Ohio city rankings are bad, the foreclosure rates have been decreasing.

He says a long-term concern for the state, especially in metropolitan areas, is that many previously foreclosed properties are still bank-owned and unoccupied, which can cause a drag on the economy and local communities.

Blomquist says Cleveland especially is combating this problem with land banks, which buy up the unwanted properties and rehab or repurpose them.

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