Foreclosure Listing Figures Challenged by Ohio Court Data- By: John Cutts
Foreclosure listing estimates published by foreclosure tracking firms and trade associations were challenged by the foreclosure data released by the Ohio Supreme Court last week.
According to the highest court in Ohio, foreclosure filings throughout the state increased by 3.8 percent in 2009. In contrast, a California-based foreclosure tracking firm reported that foreclosure postings in 2009 dropped by 10.5 percent in 2009.
The Mortgage Bankers Association also said that foreclosure postings in Ohio slowed down in the final quarter of 2009 while mortgage delinquency stepped up.
Foreclosure figures are not only numbers in reports. They are crucial to states, counties and cities because they become the basis of decisions regarding programs, funds and personnel assignments. They are also important in decision making at the federal level by administration officials and lawmakers in Congress.
In Ohio, the foreclosure data released by the Supreme Court is widely accepted as authoritative because it is based on court filings in all the 88 counties of Ohio.
According to the court, a total of 89,053 foreclosure filings were posted in the state in 2009, the 14th consecutive year that foreclosures have climbed up.
The California foreclosure research firm had higher figures for 2009, posting a total of 101,614 filings for Ohio and a double-digit foreclosure listing decrease compared to 2008. Analysts contend that the California firm has flaws in its counting methods, but nevertheless foreclosure figures from this firm are the ones used by lawmakers, housing advocates and news agencies.
Bill Faith, head of the Ohio Coalition on Homelessness and Housing, said that his organization relies on the Ohio Supreme Court data and on the quarterly reports from the Mortgage Bankers Association.
The MBA gathers its data from surveys and reports only changes. For instance, for the final quarter last year, the MBA reported that foreclosure postings in Ohio dropped by 6. 2 percent compared to the previous quarter, but default notices increased by 2.9 percent.
Meanwhile, the California firm explained that its foreclosure numbers for Ohio were correct and that it gathers its data in three foreclosure stages: the filing of the foreclosure case, the scheduling of the sheriff auction, and the repossession of the property by the mortgage lender.
According to Uriah King of the North Carolina Center for Responsible Lending, there are discrepancies in the reports released by the California firm because of difficulties in gathering foreclosure listing numbers in rural counties and in smaller counties.
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John Cutts has been educated in the finer points of the foreclosure market over 5 years.