The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Reality Check

June 25, 2008


County’s low-end housing suffers in subprime mess

Paul Bryant is fascinated by statistics, especially those dealing with the housing market in Ashtabula, Lake, Geauga and Cuyahoga counties.

Bryant is a Realtor and past president of both the Lake County Association of Realtors and Ashtabula County Board of Realtors. Semiretired, he previously managed the Realty One office in Ashtabula Township.

In the fall of 2007, Bryant pored over the listings in the Multiple Listing Service for Ashtabula, zeroing in on properties with a listing price of $80,000 or less. What Bryant discovered surprised this industry veteran.

“Almost 39 percent were bank foreclosures,” says Bryant. “It was a huge percentage. ... (A) majority of the sales where of bank-owned properties.”

When it comes to home foreclosures, Ashtabula County once again has the misfortune of being in Ohio. During the summer and fall of 2007, one in nine Ohio homeowners with a mortgage was at least 30 days behind on payments. The state had 3.7 percent of all home loans in foreclosure during the third quarter, according to a report released Dec. 6, 2007, by the Mortgage Bankers Association in Washington.

During 2006, there were 718 foreclosure filings in Ashtabula County. In 2007, that number crept up to 740. That is one foreclosure for every 140 residents, or 16 foreclosures for every 1,000 housing units. Those are figures that put the county in the league of Louisiana, Michigan and Nevada, the nation’s top foreclosure states.

It’s not getting better, either. In January, 70 foreclosure actions were filed. Sixty-two were filled last month.

While much of the foreclosure issue is being blamed on the subprime-lending debacle, in Ohio there’s also the sour-economy factor at work. The January 2008 unemployment rate was 8 percent.

Bryant says buyers, even investors, have been running scared.

“The uncertainty of employment is the biggest problem,” Bryant says. “People just don’t know what’s going to happen to them in the next couple of years.”

Text Only
Reality Check
  • images_sizedimage_070165730 Why are we hurting so? It’s time for a reality check.: Main story, Day one

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • images_sizedimage_069193501 Beyond wineries and covered bridges … An introduction to reality check

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • What it is, how it’s calculated Determining per capita income is a complex exercise that — at best — is a mathematical expression of a moving target.

    In its simplest terms, per capita income is, according to the Ohio Department of Development, “the income of a given area divided by the resident population of that area.” Sounds simple enough, but arriving at the figure is not.

    June 25, 2008

  • images_sizedimage_069195701 Bad vibes: Lack of opportunities, progress make for sour attitudes Eavesdrop on conversations at the lunch counter, in the aisles of Wal-Mart on a Friday evening or around the sports bar on a Sunday afternoon, and you’re likely to hear some pretty disparaging remarks about the old hometown.

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • Finding work after prison nearly impossible A portion of Ashtabula County’s unemployed can’t find a job because of their prior address – a prison cell.

    June 25, 2008

  • County part of Team NEO marketing efforts Ashtabula County is part of a 16-county alliance aimed at marketing the Northeast Ohio region to employers and business investors, many of have never heard of Ashtabula, let alone Mentor, Akron or Youngstown.

    June 25, 2008

  • Some people just don’t want a job Ashtabula County Commissioner Deborah Newcomb talks to a lot of employers, and they all express the same concern: finding people reliable people with basic skills is a problem.

    June 25, 2008

  • images_sizedimage_070212402 POOR BUT WORKING A winter wind blew across the parking lot of the Neighbor to Neighbor Food Pantry next to St. Joseph’s Church in Ashtabula; the six adults lined up at the door turned their faces from the wind, toward the metaphoric concrete wall of the building.

    June 25, 2008 2 Photos

  • images_sizedimage_071213603 County's largest hospital feels the Medicaid pain Perhaps no one in Ashtabula County feels the pinch of subsidizing unemployed or underemployed individuals more than Philip E. Pawlowski.

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • Crime & Drugs Inc. always hiring Some “unemployed” residents find crime to be their best source of steady income. Judge Richard Stevens of Western County Court says he noticed a 50-percent increase in the number of criminal cases handled by his court between 2005 and last year.

    June 25, 2008

House Ads

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video