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Published: 7/12/2011

Lucas, Wood county courts post drops in foreclosures

BY LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

The number of foreclosure cases in Lucas and Wood counties dropped dramatically through the first half of this year, a sign of both an improving economy and banks having lingering troubles moving their backlog of foreclosure cases forward, according to statistics compiled by the clerks of courts of metro Toledo's two largest counties.

Lucas County Common Pleas Court recorded 1,350 foreclosure cases filed through the first six months of 2011, down 33 percent from the 2,018 cases filed during same period a year ago and 41 percent lower than the 2,282 cases filed during the first six months of 2009, county court records indicate.

In Wood County, lenders and lien holders had filed a combined 332 foreclosure cases between Jan. 1 and June 30, down 16 percent from the 393 cases filed during the first half of 2010 and 13 percent lower than the 383 cases filed there during the first half of 2009.

"I think this shows that we've turned the corner somewhat," Bernie Quilter, Lucas County clerk of courts, said in explaining the rapidly declining foreclosure numbers in Lucas County. "We look at it as a foreclosure is a foreclosure, and every month we're showing a decrease. We're seeing a tremendous drop this year."

Much of the downturn may be attributable to issues that major financial institutions were having beginning late last year with the validity of the foreclosure documents filed in many of their cases. As a result of an investigation of attorneys general in all 50 states, many major lenders suspended foreclosure proceedings.

Cindy Hofner, Wood County clerk of courts, said the decline in case activity that her office has experienced may be brief.

"I'm hearing from several of our attorneys that file them on a regular basis that they think there's another wave coming toward the end of summer," Ms. Hofner said.

RealtyTrac, a California-based information company that tracks residential foreclosure activity nationwide, is to release its report of first-half foreclosure-related filings Wednesday. The RealtyTrac data include all foreclosure-related filings, not just court cases filed.

Contact Larry P. Vellequette at: lvellequette@theblade.com or 419-724-6091.



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