Catherine Ubry, For The Miami Student

Throughout the past few years, the rate of foreclosures across the nation has risen dramatically as the struggling economy has made its way to homes and families everywhere. Butler County is no exception.

According to RealtyTrac Inc., the number of foreclosures throughout Butler County has steadily been on the rise throughout the last three years and one in every 663 housing units received a foreclosure filing in September 2011 alone.

Carolyn Johnson, the Butler County Clerk of Courts legal division office manager said rates went slightly down in 2008, but skyrocketed in 2009.

“I think the foreclosures are simply results in this economy, people just can’t pay for the property taxes,” Johnson said.

The foreclosures do not always occur on newer houses, contrary to popular belief.

“When we get foreclosures, some people are foreclosing on houses that were paid off for years. Their parents paid for the house but now they can’t pay the property taxes or mortgages,” Johnson said.

All types of demographics and people of different ages, communities and states are being hit by these increasing rates.

“It’s sad, especially with the elderly,” Johnson said. “People just keep losing their jobs, it’s just a bad time. I just don’t think that it will get much better anytime soon. It’s a struggle to hold onto your home these days.”

The rate of foreclosures for Butler County in September 2011 was slightly less than the rate in 2010, according to Johnson. Although overall, the rate is still on the rise and is unlikely to dramatically decrease anytime soon.

Joe Palacio, real estate agent for Real Estate Professionals, based locally in Liberty Township, also doubts that the rate will improve in the near future.

“Everyone is so dependent on the economical situation and with double digit unemployment rates … unless that starts getting better, I don’t see any short-term turn around anytime soon,” Palacio said. “My personal opinion is that we’re at least five years out … at least for the next couple years we’ll have high mortgage rates that need adjusted. With the market the way it is, it is just hard for people to pay off their homes.”

The combination of businesses in trouble, high unemployment rates, lack of jobs and people unable to pay for mortgages have made home values drop. Many people took high-risk mortgages and are now resetting their mortgages and when the payments go up 20, 30 or 40 percent, it is past the point of being able to afford the homes, according to Palacio.

Current homeowners are not the only ones worried about the foreclosure rates; future homeowners, including students, have to think about the rates and economy as well.

Miami University sophomore Matt Kohler said, “It’s scary to think about how now that we’re getting older, we have so much to think about with jobs and housing. We hear about people who are on their feet and have paid off their houses but are still struggling. It’s weird to think that we’re just trying to get off the ground and get established and we have to enter into the housing market at such a bad time.”

Unfortunately, students and citizens of various ages will face the negative effects of the struggling economy.

“This definitely didn’t happen overnight, but eventually, I think it will pick up,” Kohler said. “For now I think all we can do is wait it out and hope for the best.”