Record numbers of homes on block at sheriff's auctions

SANDUSKY More than 60 properties are up for auction at next month's sheriff's foreclosure sales. The Erie County Sheri
May 24, 2010



More than 60 properties are up for auction at next month's sheriff's foreclosure sales.

The Erie County Sheriff's office has a record number of houses that will go on the auction block at 10 a.m. July 10 and 31 at the Erie County Courthouse.

Eighteen properties are listed to go on sale July 10 and 49 are listed to go on sale July 31.

"This is the most we've ever had," said Judy Schwochow, secretary for the civil division of the Erie County Sheriff's office. "We seem to be climbing."

So far this year, the sheriff's office has received 208 foreclosed properties to sell at its auctions. The sheriff's office handled 308 properties the entire year last year.

Schwochow said some of the properties that don't sell are listed again for the next auction, or until they sell.

Properties for both dates range from the appraised value of $21,000 up to $570,000, which is the most expensive property listed for sale on July 10. The home is located at 9406 N. U.S. 250 in Milan. The starting bid is set at $380,000. A house at 1807 Judson Drive in Huron is listed as the highest-priced property up for sale on July 31. The property has an appraised value of $312,000. The starting bid is set at $208,000. Most properties are located in Sandusky, Huron and Berlin Heights and some are in Vermilion and near Vickery.

Thom Shaffoe, president of the Firelands Association of Realtors, said the spike in foreclosed properties does not surprise him.

"We're probably going to see more sheriff sales as time goes on," he said.

Shaffoe said there are a number of reasons why foreclosures are steadily rising.

Job changes, company down-sizing, mortgage industry changes and national lenders offering loans that borrowers might not be able to pay are just a few of the factors he attributes to the increasing number of foreclosures.

"Everything is relative to money," he said.

Earlier this week, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown joined a banking subcommittee hearing on the mortgage lending industry and called for Congress to act to stem the tide of foreclosures.

The hearing focused on the mortgage origination process, abuses in the mortgage lending industry, responsible solutions to protect consumers in the home-buying process and the impact of the proposed solutions on the market.

"We face a crisis in Ohio," Brown, D-Ohio, said at a hearing Tuesday. "We have the highest inventory of foreclosed properties in the country and the problem is not behind us."