January 14, 2008

Poverty Center at Case Western Reserve University reports dramatic increase in home foreclosures

Report calls for nonprofit and government agency assistance


A new report from the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University addresses the local foreclosure crisis, calling for refinancing loans or providing assistance to homeowners as an effort to maintain property values and prevent vandalism and deterioration to vacant structures.

"If market circumstances prevent the return of these properties to productive use, effective strategies to hold and maintain property need to be implemented by nonprofit and government agencies," concludes the report, "Foreclosure and Beyond: A report on ownership and housing values following sheriff's sales, Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, 2000-2007." Claudia Coulton, the Center's co-director, authored the report, along with Kristen Mikelbank and Michael Schramm from the Center staff. It examines the accumulative effects of increased foreclosures on residential properties of single and multiple family homes. A full copy of the report is available online.

The report is part of the Poverty Center's series on the impact of foreclosures and the lending crisis in neighborhoods. The findings were derived from data from the offices of the Cuyahoga County Auditor and the Cuyahoga County Recorder and provided by the Center for Housing Research and Policy at Cleveland State University.

Cleveland and its suburbs in Cuyahoga County are feeling the brunt of foreclosures as homes auctioned in sheriff's sales quadrupled from 1,626 in 2000 to 9,632 in 2007. Over the past seven years, some 23,700 have entered sheriff's sales, with approximately 8.8 percent of homes in Cleveland foreclosed upon, and about 3 percent in the county's suburbs.

"It appears the rising rates of foreclosure are overwhelming the systems and markets that ordinarily move properties along," the report said. The problem is accelerated as many foreclosed properties are sold to financial institutions and remain for longer periods of time in their control while more properties flow into the system. The researchers say this devalues surrounding property values and creates a neighborhood nuisance.

Several areas in the city and suburbs have been hit harder with foreclosures than others. In Cleveland, the impact is concentrated in the neighborhoods of Woodland Hills, South Collinwood, Union Miles, Glenville and Corlett. Those with the highest rate of foreclosure sales in the suburbs are East Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, Warrensville Heights, Maple Heights and Newburgh Heights.

"Foreclosures contribute to neighborhood decline when the circumstances are such that these homes fail to return to their previous level of productive use and value," said the researchers.

The report was made possible through the support of The Cleveland Foundation and The George Gund Foundation.

For more information contact Susan Griffith, 216.368.1004.

Posted by: Kimyette Finley, January 14, 2008 02:21 PM | News Topics: Community Outreach, Faculty, HeadlinesMain, Provost Initiatives, Research

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