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Published: Tuesday, 9/20/2005

Michigan, Ohio exceed U.S. rate in mortgage ills

Ohio's level of seriously delinquent payments on mortgages and its proportion of loans newly in foreclosure in the second quarter were twice the country's averages.

Michigan's rates also were substantially higher than national levels, according to figures released yesterday by the Mortgage Bankers Association in Washington.

During the April through June period, 4.34 percent of mortgages across America were delinquent, down from 4.31 percent in the first quarter, the trade group said. Home loans considered seriously delinquent, or behind 90 days or more in payments, were 1.83 percent, and loans put into foreclosure were 0.39 percent.

In Ohio, 6.13 percent of mortgages were delinquent, 4.82 percent were seriously delinquent, and 0.78 percent were newly in foreclosure, the association said. For Michigan, the figures were 6.03 percent, 2.81 percent, and 0.57 percent, respectively.

The higher rates in Ohio and Michigan likely were caused by the regionally sluggish economy and higher jobless rates, experts said.

Shane Marzullo, of Greentree Mortgage Services Inc. in Maumee and president of the northwest chapter of the Ohio Association of Mortgage Brokers, said "If people are getting laid off from their jobs, they can't make their mortgage payments."

Higher gas prices are contributing to the problem, he said. "To a family that's not making a lot of money, that would be devastating to them," he said.

Chris Joseph, owner of Westchester Mortgage Services Inc. in Toledo, said, "You have people buying houses on 100 percent loans so that, if they have any type of bo bble in their lives, that could cause them to lose the loans."

Ohio and Michigan have had higher rates than the national averages for at least a few years.

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