NY Comptroller Says High Home Foreclosure Level Persists


The foreclosure crisis persists in New York, even worsening in some suburban and upstate areas, the state comptroller said in a report on Monday.

Filings against homeowners unable to make mortgage payments spiked after the housing bubble burst in the 2008-2009 recession, according to the report. New cases nearly doubled over three years to 47,664 in 2009.

New filings then declined for two years under revised court rules that require lenders to affirm claims to property and not simply produce rote documents. However, after dropping to 16,655 in 2011, they climbed sharply again, reaching 46,696 in 2013. New filings were 43,868 last year.

“The foreclosure crisis is far from resolved,” Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said. “There are still too many people losing their homes. In many places, the situation has continued to get worse.”

The pending caseload has held fairly steady at around 90,000 since the start of 2013 with courts backlogged, involving one of every 88 housing units in New York.

Over the past two years, the pending total has dropped in New York City about 10 percent to below 30,000. In its suburbs and on Long Island, the total has risen from 25,097 to 40,985, while rising upstate from 15,000 to more than 20,000 pending cases.

On the upside, the report said pre-foreclosure notifications have begun declining, while the court system, attorney general and state financial regulators have adopted measures to resolve cases faster and return more vacant properties to use.

On Friday, the attorney general’s office reported that its Homeowner Protection Program, begun in 2012, has established a network of nearly 90 housing counseling and legal services agencies that have provided free help to 50,000 families statewide in efforts to help them avoid losing their homes. Another program over the past year has approved 309 loans for more than $9.3 million altogether to pay off debts that were barriers to mortgage modification.

The office also offers online vetting of foreclosure rescue offers. It cited more than 2,700 complaints about rescue scams by New York homeowners to the Lawyer Committee for Civil Rights, documenting at least $8.25 million in losses since 2010.

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