8 Dec 2011

Foreclosure pressure still felt by many despite rate drop

Author: Zach Knapp | Filed under: Enterprise Story

by Zach Knapp

Caroyln Duquette has worked a full-time job for most of her life, but with most of that money going toward bills the threat of losing the house that her father built for her family is at a high.

“There are things in life that you enjoy then all of a sudden they are pulled out from under you,” Duquette said. “The bank told me that if I don’t make my payments they will foreclose my house.”

Duquette is not alone with her struggles as 444 residence of Wood County have had their house foreclosed, as of Nov. 17 this year, according to fillings in the Wood County Clerk of Courts for the Common Pleas Court.

Despite foreclosures ongoing influence in the area strong school districts, university influence (in the instance of the city of Bowling Green) and economic awareness have resulted in a 24 percent drop in foreclosure rates in Wood County.

Past years have resulted in 585 foreclosures in 2010 and 589 in 2009 as of Nov. 17, according to fillings in the Wood County Clerk of Courts for the Common Pleas Court, for both years respectively. The drop of the foreclosure rate in Wood County may be a “sign that the economy may hopefully be getting better,” said Wood County Sheriff, Mark Wasylyshyn.

Schools playing role in preventing foreclosure

(View Foreclosures in Bowling Green’s school district in a larger map)

Top school districts in Bowling Green and Perrysburg ranked 237 and 66 respectively out of 740 school districts, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Strong school ditricts have been known to provide aid in preventing foreclosures from flourishing in their area.

“The public schools in Wood County have remained pretty constant throughout the years, Wasylyshyn said.

A spokesperson for Realty Trac, Daren Blomquist , said how important that “consistency” is and how having a good school district can keep foreclosure at bay.

“Just as public schools affect real estate in general, we have found that they especially have affected foreclosures,” Blomquist said.

one in every 1604 homes was foreclosed in Bowling Green and one in every 681 homes was foreclosed in Perrysburg in October, according to Realty Trac.

Karen Battaglia, a parent of two children, was not shy to admit the importance of Bowling Green’s school district when making the decision to move into the area.

“I already had my kids when my husband and I made the decision to move. Where they would be attending school was the biggest factor to us when it came time to buy our new home,” Battaglia said.”

The strong presence of a university, like Bowling Green State University, has been acknowledged as a strong selling point for people looking at purchasing houses, according to Blomquist.

“Realty Trac deals with a lot of homebuyers that are interested in buying properties that are near universities. There will always be foreclosures, but having a university, such as Bowling Green State University, will cushion any problems with foreclosure.If any of the  houses are foreclosed they usualy get bought fairly fast, because they are hot properties in the market.

Urbanization and its affect on foreclosure

Other cities and counties have not been fairing as well as Bowling Green in the past year, largely due to urbanized problems and larger populations.

One in every 586 houses in Ohio was in foreclosure in October, according to Realty Trac.

Lucas County, despite its close proximity to Wood County, has not had the success that Wood County has had with foreclosure rates; a problem that many urban differences may account for higher foreclosure rates.

“Urban Areas of Lucas County, like Toledo, have a lot of foreclosure problems related to their more urban population and economy.”  Blomquist said. “These problems would not likely be effecting Bowling Green.”

Lucas County had one in every 263 houses filed for foreclosure in October, according to Realty Trac.

Redefining the Foreclosure Crisis

Since the rise of the housing and morgage  crisis in 200 foreclosures began to get mainstream media and goverment coverage. Sheriff

Karen Kinder, real estate agent in Wood County, acknowleges poor loans as the cause of the crisis.

“Houses that were purchased during the boom were mostly affected where financing was done for pretty much everyone,” Kinder said.

Looking toward the future, Kinder is optimistic about foreclosure levels going back gown.

“I think the economy is getting better and there is more awareness to what is going on,” Kinder said.

Duquette does not see the coverage that has been given to the foreclosure problem as sufficient. While acknowledging the housing crisis as a reason for the recent surge of foreclosures, she is convinced that the problem is bigger than this.

“What they are showing you on TV [about foreclosure] is not the whole story,” Duquette said. “The problem was around before all of the recent coverage for people like me, and it will still be here when the coverage stops.”







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