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Four Northeast Ohio communities could be at risk for housing crisis,new study reports

A new study points to another housing bubble.

CLEVELAND — The housing market may be doing well now,but a report by GoBankingRates.com says some Northeast Ohio cities are in danger of another housing crisis. 

The study looked at the percentage of homes which are underwater, meaning they're worth less than the total mortgage, along with vacancy, delinquency and foreclosure rates. Of 40 cities, four are in Ohio, with two landing in the top 10.

Some may say that’s surprising, given that occupancy rates in the area are at all-time highs and home prices and rents are on the rise.But that boom also brings big risks, because with housing prices going up, some say the Government ends up making loans to people who can't afford to buy them.

Peter Wallison, a financial advisor with the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank which researches government, politics, economics, and social welfare says, "If we had a fully private market , we'd have mortgages that would be made to people that, they can not only afford because they will buy smaller houses, but these mortgages won't default when we have a financial downturn.”

And that's already happening in a number of cities, according to the GoBankingRates.com report.

Cleveland ranked 7th most likely to have a housing crisis, because one in every 832 Cleveland homes are in foreclosure, the second highest in the study.  Worse, is 25.9% of Cleveland's homes are underwater.

Also on the list, Akron ranked 16th because of high vacancy rates (2.3% of homes going unoccupied and 7.1% of rental units without renters), as well as the number of homes underwater, 20.6%.

But, the Akron Cleveland Association of Realtors disagrees that these cities are in trouble.

Judy Gorbett-Darwall, President of the Association says, "This market is so strong, it's incredible. Anything we put on the market that's priced right is gone the first day."

And while the Association acknowledges that some lenders are still being too lenient, it believes most have learned their lesson from the 2008 housing crisis.

"I think lenders are being more careful. I think the credit limits have to be higher before they can get the kind of loans that they're referencing (meaning GoBanking Rates)," says Gorbett-Darwall.

With that said, financial experts suggest considering more than just prices when looking for a home, because they're not as convinced the market is sound.

"In an area of the economy which involves 1/6th of all assets, the housing market, they (the Government) are burrowing right in to where we were before 2008," says Wallison.

Also making the list, Dayton, in 9th place, where home values are down ($52,500 vs. the median listing price of $67,900) and nearly 27.6% of homeowners have mortgages with negative equity. 

Then there's Toledo at 13, with one foreclosure in every 1,423 homes.