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Published: Thursday, 12/13/2012 - Updated: 1 year ago

Region in worse shape than year ago, latest foreclosure statistics show

BY TYREL LINKHORN
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

A monthly assessment of the foreclosure situation in metro Toledo shows the area in worse shape than it was a year ago and considerably lagging the nation’s trend of improvement.

RealtyTrac, a real estate data firm in Irvine, Calif., said Wednesday that November foreclosure-related activity in metro Toledo was up 28 percent from October and 13 percent from November, 2011. Much of that was because of a 30 percent year-over-year increase in Lucas County. RealtyTrac said foreclosure-related activity was up 7 percent in Ottawa and Wood counties compared with last November, but it it fell 77 percent in Fulton County.

The firm said 725 metro Toledo homes were in some stage of the foreclosure process in November, compared with 643 last year. Of those 725 homes, 597 were in Lucas County.

RealtyTrac’s figures include default notices, scheduled actions, and bank repossessions. Not all the homes counted by RealtyTrac will end up in court foreclosure proceedings. Still, the figures are an indication that the Toledo housing market remains shaky, despite higher prices and lower inventory levels.

Jon Modene, a real estate broker at ReMax Masters in Perrysburg, said he sees a continual stream of default notices and many mortgages remain underwater, meaning that the homeowner owes more than the property is worth.

In Lucas County and Toledo, he said, “there's a lot of distressed properties and distressed owners trying to figure out what to do.”

Mr. Modene said he expects more of those homes to go into foreclosure next year. A 2007 act that allowed short-sellers to avoid paying income tax on debt forgiven by lenders is to expire at the end of this year. That, he believes, will drastically reduce the number of short sales.

“We’re going to have more foreclosures unless the law changes,” he said.

John Mangas, broker-owner of ReMax Preferred Associates in Toledo, said he’s been seeing more short sales recently as lenders are becoming more cooperative and accommodating toward short sales.

“They’re waking up to the fact the amount of the write-off is significantly less if they agree to work with the owner and do a short sale versus kicking it to their legal deparment and do the foreclosure without being open to other options. And that’s what was happening for years,” he said.

Agents also say banks seem to be working harder to manage the flow of distressed properties out of the pipeline, something that has both delayed foreclosure filings and tightened inventory.

“Buyers are out there,” said Rick Turner, a Toledo-based agent with Key Realty. “I kind of use the term that we’re bumping along the bottom. We’re starting to see some slight gains in price values because the banks are holding off.”

RealtyTrac said foreclosure activity in the United States was down 19 percent compared with last year. However, Ohio was one of the weakest performers in November, with state activity up 10 percent. RealtyTrack said Ohio was one of nine states to post 12-month highs in foreclosure activity last month.

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at: tlinkhorn@theblade.com or 419-724-6134.



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