Cuyahoga County foreclosure rates have dropped back to 2003 levels

Housing experts believe property values will go up

CLEVELAND - The latest study on Cuyahoga County foreclosure rates seems to show the northeast Ohio housing market is making a comeback.

A study assembled by Cleveland's Thriving Communities Institute indicates the foreclosure has reached its lowest level in 10 years.The study indicates Cuyahoga County foreclosures have dropped from their all-time high of 12,643 in 2007 to 7,268 thus far this year.

Institute director Jim Rokakis told NewsChannel5 the shrinking number of foreclosures is a good indicator that property values will start a recovery.

"About 40 percent of all mortgages in the county are underwater, so rising property values will give these homeowners some big help," Rokakis said. "It's exciting and hopefully we learn lessons from this,and hopefully we don't repeat these mistakes. Hopefully, as we move forward on a new lending model, it's going to be based on the real property values and on the individual's ability to repay that loan."

Cleveland home and business owner Nikola Kraguljac was pleased to here about the drop in the foreclosure rate.

Kraguljac is the owner of Diana Baker's Diner on Cleveland's west side and he also owns five homes in that neighborhood.

"Right now, it's just the beginning. It's a turning point and I'm hoping it gets better," Kraguljac said. "Up until this point it's been rough because a lot of the houses were lost by people and closed up. There's a lot of empty lots because the places weren't worth fixing, they were actually torn down."

"I hope housing values will come back to some extent, it will really help."

The entire Thriving Communities Institute 11-page report can be found here: http://on.wews.com/15PDZrR

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