Foreclosure crisis may be drawing to a close

Officials say one more spike expected, then numbers will start to fall.

Clark County saw a spike in filings last month compared to the same time last year, possibly a sign of the last expected wave.

Foreclosures are expected to fall once the market overcomes the anticipated spike in foreclosure-related filings spurred by the $25 billion foreclosure fraud settlement announced Feb. 9, the officials said. Those filings include new listings, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions.

“The majority of Ohio foreclosures have already been worked through the system, so while you’ll see a moderate bump, it won’t be as big as some other states,” said James Thurston, spokesman for the Ohio Bankers League. “This is going to be the last glut. The foreclosure numbers in general will start to moderate and then they’ll start to fall.”

Shannon Meadows, community development director for the city of Springfield, agreed. The city has mirrored most of the foreclosure trends, so she expects to see a rise in foreclosures here and then a drop off.

“We should be nearing what we call the reset ... I am hopeful that we are getting toward the end of the tunnel, of the mass chaos that was created by the foreclosure crisis,” Meadows said.

The landmark settlement will create a bump in foreclosure filings because it gives lenders clarity on the correct way to foreclose on homes, said Daren Blomquist, spokesman for RealtyTrac Inc., a California firm that tracks foreclosure-related filings nationwide. The lack of clarity is “what has been bogging down many foreclosures in the past year and a half.”

The number of foreclosure filings has fallen in Ohio’s major metro counties, but spiked in Clark County, RealtyTrac released this week.

Foreclosure filings in January climbed nearly 22 percent in Clark County to 123, compared to January 2011. That bump is likely the start of the remaining foreclosures that had been put on hold by a foreclosure moratorium finally working through the system, Meadows said.

In Champaign County, foreclosures fell to six from 10.

In Montgomery County, the number of filings fell nearly 27 percent to 508 compared with January 2011. Miami County saw 59 foreclosure filings in January compared to just five filings the same month a year ago. Greene County had 110 foreclosure filings last month, compared to 52 in January 2011.

Overall Ohio had 210,941 foreclosure filings in January, a decline of 19 percent from a year ago. Ohio’s rate of foreclosures in January was the 12th highest in the U.S. One in every 616 housing units had some kind of foreclosure filing, according to RealtyTrac.

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