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New data ranks Ohio, Cleveland among the top in the nation with highest foreclosure rates

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Posted at 6:26 AM, Feb 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-10 06:26:47-05

CLEVELAND — Across the country, more and more foreclosures are being reported.

According to Attom Data Solutions, last month the nation reported the highest filing rate since the start of the pandemic. The data shows Ohio is one of the top states seeing a spike (one in every 3,251 housing units). Meanwhile, Cleveland reported one of the highest metropolitan foreclosure rates (one in every 1,659 housing units).

We shared the numbers with Rick Sharga, vice president of RealtyTrac. He says the spike in filings will continue to rise for the rest of the year.

“It's important to keep recent numbers in context,” he said. “We're coming off a very, very small number of foreclosures because of the government's foreclosure moratorium and the mortgage forbearance program that's been in place for the last two years.”

Sharga assures us we’re still below normal levels.

“Cleveland is still running probably 50 to 60% lower than the normal foreclosure levels that we've seen historically,” he explained. “Our research at RealtyTrac shows us that about 87% of homeowners currently in foreclosure actually have positive equity in their properties, which is way different than where we were during the Great Recession when 33% of all homeowners were actually underwater on their loans.”

Even with Attom’s data showing default notices, auctions and bank repossessions in the U.S. increased 57% from December and 235% from last year, Sharga says the local industry is still in good shape.

“The prognosis as we move forward actually is pretty positive for the region,” he said. “We probably won't get to normal until late this year or early next year…there really isn’t cause for alarm.”

As for homeowners facing foreclosure, Sharga suggests they “talk to real estate professionals, talk to your lender, find out how much equity you have in your property, and whether selling that property at a profit might not be a better way for you to exit this foreclosure proceeding than to wait it out and potentially lose everything to a foreclosure sale.”