Real estate sales in Ohio are still quite low, which is confirmed by the May sales figures from RealtyTrac. One of the problems is that even when a buyer is interested in buying real estate, banks are reluctant to allow them to borrow, even when their credit scores are good. May home sales in Columbus were down 25% from May 2010, which is an echo of what is happening all over the state.
There is nowhere in Ohio that has been spared from the foreclosure, short sale and price reductions in homes. Homes that once demanded a price only affordable to successful professionals are now going to auction for far less than $200,000.
3,405 home owners were were forced to move in Cincinnati after their homes were placed on the auction block this summer. Columbus also faces a large foreclosure problem with 4,099 homes recently listed as foreclosures. Smaller communities face the same issues as metropolitan areas, but do not have as many foreclosures and short sales. The southern Ohio cities of Jackson, Athens and Logan each have less 20 repossessed homes listed for sale.
When a home is in foreclosure, there are often also unpaid real estate taxes attached to the property. Local governments and schools around the state are suffering due to the growing amount of delinquent property taxes.
Homeowners in general are impacted by the growing list of foreclosures. The steeply discounted prices on short sale and foreclosed homes drives down the price of similar homes in the same area. Banks require a real estate appraiser to use comparable homes to determine current market value during the loan process. When your neighbor cannot pay his mortgage and his house is sold at a foreclosure auction, your home is now worth less in the eyes of lenders and appraisers.
There is some hope. In June 2011, there has been a slowdown in the rate of foreclosure filings and of repossessions. The courts nationally have also become more aggressive about challenging foreclosures. In January 2011, Massachusetts’s top court voided the seizure of two homes by Wells Fargo & Company and US Bancorp after the banks failed to show that they held the mortgages at the time of the foreclosures, and courts in several states are considering similar cases.