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Cincinnati foreclosure report gives reasons for hope, concern

A nonprofit’s annual study of foreclosures in Cincinnati and Hamilton County found reason for homeowners to feel hopeful, as well as continuing cause for concern. The number of foreclosure sales in 2013 was down 17.5 percent. Twenty-four percent fewer foreclosure proceedings were initiated during the year.

Despite the good news, the group pointed out that there were 22,000 foreclosures in the county in 2013. This still represents a high number of people facing financial challenges, falling behind on mortgage payments, and facing the threat of foreclosure. A spokeswoman pointed out that the government would step in to help out if a natural disaster robbed 22,000 people of their homes, but there is no assistance being offered to struggling homeowners. 

The report stated that throughout Ohio, 1.5 percent of homes are currently somewhere in the foreclosure process, much higher than the national figure of just over 1 percent. Ohio ranked fifth nationally in its rate of foreclosures.

Foreclosures in areas of the county outside the city of Cincinnati went up in 2013. The spokeswoman suggested that unemployment was behind this rise. One small city in Hamilton County has a foreclosure rate of 14 percent. Property values there have dropped nearly 70 percent and almost 40 percent of homes are under water in this area.

Contributing to the continued high rate of foreclosures in the county, the report found that tax foreclosures nearly doubled in 2013, from 55 homes to 101. This type of foreclosures appears to be on the rise.

Most of the houses subject to foreclosure sales were single-family homes. Nearly all of the foreclosures involved residential real estate, leaving many families out of their homes.

Families facing financial challenges that lead them to struggle with their mortgage lenders may have an uphill battle to avoid foreclosure. The good news is that they don’t have to face these challenges alone; experienced legal counsel familiar with bankruptcy and foreclosure proceedings may be able to ease the burden.

Source: WVXU, “Foreclosures down but problem persists,” by Tana Weingartner, April 22, 2014

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