Cuyahoga County housing values rise, but some east suburbs lag


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Housing values across Cuyahoga County, Ohio, continued to increase while home abandonment and vacancy rates continued to decline over the last year, a new study found.

But the research, done by the Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s Thriving Communities Program, also found that the East Side of Cleveland trails the rest of the county in recovery and is in critical need of help.

And areas of the county where the majority of the population is African-American continue to suffer disproportionately compared to the rest of the county in terms of mortgage foreclosure, property tax delinquency, vacancy and abandonment, home sale price and access to mortgage lending.

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“There’s no question we are seeing positive housing market trends in Cuyahoga County,” said Frank Ford, senior policy advisor at Western Reserve Land Conservancy, in a news release. “With that said, we are only as strong as our weakest links — and the East Side of Cleveland and some neighboring East suburbs are in desperate need of our help.”

Researchers found that the upward trend in home-sale prices seen over the past several years is continuing.

That trend was strongest in areas that were least hit by the foreclosure crisis — outer suburbs, inner-ring suburbs west of Cleveland and Cleveland’s West Side.

The report also found evidence that efforts to reduce blight are helping to bolster home-sale prices in the inner-ring suburbs east of Cleveland and on Cleveland’s East Side. Those efforts, though, could be put in jeopardy because funding for demolition is expected to run out in 2020, the report says.

“We must continue to help communities dig out of the dark hole of the housing crash,” Ford said in the news release. “With funding running out, the Cuyahoga County Land Bank is at capacity and cannot take on new properties requiring demolition. Continued funding to protect our residents, communities and overall socio-economic stability is critical.”

Here are some key findings in the report:

— Mortgage foreclosure filings declined to 1995 (pre-foreclosure crisis) levels.

— Vacancy and abandonment declined in all neighborhoods.

— The recovery on Cleveland’s East Side trailed the rest of the county, with only 34% of homes having recovered their prior median home sale price.

— Even in the areas that have seen the greatest abandonment and housing market collapse, removal of blighted structures is paying dividends in the form of stronger home-sale prices.

— Market recovery on Cleveland’s West Side and in most suburbs has improved enough to support a shift from demolition to rehab as the primary response to housing abandonment.

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