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Published: Friday, 1/4/2008

Subprime mortgages roiling Toledo area, broker, lender say

Very little subprime mortgage lending is taking place in the Toledo area anymore, but loans made in the last several years led to a glut of foreclosed homes and a struggling real estate market, two local real-estate experts said in remarks to be broadcast tonight and tomorrow.

Al Green, president of the Toledo Board of Realtors, said on this week's Deadline Now, said that with nearly 7,000 more homes on the market than a year ago, sellers should expect houses to sit 180 to 300 days. "We're pushing a year to sell a house."

Sellers who do not adjust their prices to the middle or low end of the market will have an even harder time selling, he added.

As for buyers, those hoping to purchase without providing a down payment or by using a loan with a low "teaser" interest rate are out of luck, said David Seeger, chief executive of Great Lakes Credit Union.

"Subprime loans have dried up," he said. If someone cannot qualify for a conventional loan, "there's really not a lot of avenues left for us to place them into a loan."

Mr. Green pointed out that real estate crises are cyclical and housing downturns occurred in the area in the mid 1970s, in 1980-81, and in 1989. "I was frankly expecting a slowdown a few years ago," he said.

Both guests ,said the area's housing problems are likely to continue two or three years.

Mr. Seeger said that many borrowers who got adjustable-rate mortgages a few years ago are going to be faced with higher loan payments as rates reset, and that will lead to more foreclosures.

Mr. Green and Mr. Seeger were interviewed by Jack Lessenberry, ombudsman of The Blade. Deadline Now airs at 8:30 tonight and 2 a.m. tomorrow on WGTE-TV, Channel 30.

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