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Published: Sunday, 1/9/2005

Mortgage pace slows in nearby counties too

BY GARY T. PAKULSKI
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

The story was the same across northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.

The home refinancing rush is over, and county employees responsible for logging mortgages and related documents are finally getting an opportunity to come up for air.

"There was a three-year period where we could barely keep up," said Sandra Barber, recorder in Fulton County. "We're getting some things done that needed to be done."

In Monroe County, Chere Perhatch, deputy register of deeds, describes 2003 - the height of the refinancing boom - as the year that "threw everything out of whack."

The numbers tell the story.

Wood County: The number of mortgages fell 30 percent to 10,087 in 2004, although their value rose to $4.2 billion from $3.7 billion. The recorder attributed the rise in value to financing activities involving corporations with local operations.

As for the decline in overall mortgage activity, "It shows the frenzy everybody was in when mortgage rates were falling in 2003," said Recorder Sue Kinder.

Fulton County: Mortgage activity slipped 38 percent to 8,061 and the value also fell, to $617 million from $3.1 billion in 2003.

Ottawa County: The county counts mortgages differently and was unable to provide precise figures on activity. However, statistics point to a 35 percent drop, said Recorder Virginia Park. Mortgage value fell to $673 million from $1.1 billion in 2003.

Monroe County: Through Dec. 28, mortgage activity was down 36 percent, to 14,389, from the same period in 2003. The mortgages were worth $3.2 billion, down from $4.6 billion in the prior year.



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