New foreclosure cases in NYC dropped 4 percent, but the number of auctions grew in 2017, report says

The number of city homes scheduled for auction increased 58 percent from 2016 to 2017.
The number of city homes scheduled for auction increased 58 percent from 2016 to 2017. Photo Credit: Corey Sipkin

New York City homeowners received a total of 12,072 lis pendens notices — filings that begin the foreclosure process — in 2017, which is a 4 percent drop from 2016, a new report shows.

Still, the analysis released Tuesday by PropertyShark, a real estate analytics company, noted that the number of homes scheduled for an auction — 3,306 — increased 58 percent from 2016 to 2017.

City foreclosure intervention and prevention experts said the auctions are the end of the foreclosure process, noting there have been delays in processing cases that emerged in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

“The foreclosure auction is at the end of the very long period of the foreclosure process, so these have been in foreclosure and there has been some modicum of trying to get them out…,” said Susan Ifill, chief executive officer for the Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City, which helps residents buy, maintain and stay in their homes. “So we don’t consider those new.”

Ifill said many banks and lending institutions are just getting around to foreclosing on homes, where homeowners may have been struggling for some time.

Additionally, the court system focused on working through its foreclosure backlog, which helped bolster the number of auctions, according to Caroline Nagy, deputy director for policy and research at the Center for NYC Neighborhoods, which does foreclosure prevention work.

“I would say the major one is that the New York court system has taken a number of measures to clear its docket of foreclosure cases that have been in the system for a long time,” Nagy said. “The lender wasn’t actually moving the case to completion because they weren’t really set up or did not want to deal with acquiring large amounts of foreclosed homes all at once. Now that property values have increased so much in New York City in pretty much every neighborhood, you’re starting to see an increased willingness to take on some of these properties.”

PropertyShark noted that Staten Island had 428 first-time foreclosure auctions scheduled in 2017, which was a 134 percent increase from 2016. Ifill hypothesized that the many residents in the borough were dealing with complications stemming from superstorm Sandy in 2012.

The number of new foreclosure auctions in Brooklyn in 2017 hit 827, nearly double what it was in 2016, according to PropertyShark. And the number of auctions in Queens rose 40 percent, with the Bronx seeing a 44 percent increase.

Nagy said the report highlighted how East New York, Canarsie, Brownsville, Jamaica, Hollis and parts of the north-central Bronx have been hit particularly hard by the foreclosure crisis.

“They are specifically working class communities of color that were targeted for a lot of lending products that we now understand as predatory and unsustainable,” she said.

Both the Center for NYC Neighborhoods and Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City emphasized that they can assist homeowners concerned about or entering a foreclosure.

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