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New foreclosure study shows risks for Ohio borrowers

Foreclosures became a sad fact of life during the Great Recession, with high levels of people losing their homes to defaults and bank seizures in the years following 2008. New evidence shows the market is recovering for borrowers, although dangers remain for homeowners facing financial challenges.

The annual foreclosure market report shows a promising reduction in nationwide defaults and repossessions. The first half of 2017 showed less than 430,000 U.S. properties with foreclosure proceedings, down by a fifth from the previous year and down 28 percent since the same period in 2015.

Ohio's foreclosures are dropping but they still remain in the top 10 rates by state across the country. Although only .32 percent of all U.S. homes -- about one in 311 -- are currently in foreclosure, Ohio lists .44 percent of its properties -- nearly one in every 225 -- are in default or have proceedings filed for auction or repossession.

Several cities show especially high rates of foreclosure, such as Philadelphia and Baltimore. No major city in Ohio shows rates that high, as the problem is more diffuse across urban neighborhoods and several rural areas.

"Although foreclosures are fading overall, there has been a notable an uptick in foreclosures completed by some nonbank entities — counter to the sharp downward foreclosure trend among big banks and government-backed loans," according to a senior vice president of ATTOM Data Solutions, which analyzed the foreclosure rates.

This behavior suggests that banks and government agencies are selling off underperforming mortgages and other loans to nonbank entities, which are foreclosing on individual clients under more circumstances. Borrowers should be aware of the specifics of any proceedings to prevent foreclosure fraud or other suspect lender behavior.

Options for borrowers experiencing financial stress include loan restructuring, home equity loans, bankruptcy and guaranteeing new sources of income. A lawyer may be able to help with foreclosure notices and other property issues.

Source: Bucks County Courier-Times, "U.S. foreclosures down 20 percent from last year," July 20, 2017

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