Homeowners face more foreclosures

By James Kelly | January 07, 2009 06:28PM

A quarterly report released by PropertyShark today shows an optimistic, if misleading, decrease in foreclosures in New York City in the fourth quarter.

Foreclosures in the fourth quarter of 2008 showed a steep 32 percent drop from the previous quarter, though they were up 25 percent compared to last year. There were 764 homes in some stage of foreclosure last quarter, compared to 611 in the final quarter of 2007.

“Even though we experienced a sharp decrease in the fourth quarter, I don’t think we’re out of the woods,” said PropertyShark CEO Bill Staniford. He predicts an uptick in foreclosure filings in the first quarter of 2009, saying that the fourth quarter typically shows a decline in actions, due to a large number of bank holidays, during which filings of lis pendens — a signal of upcoming foreclosures — get pushed back.

Queens showed a notable 84 percent increase in foreclosure filings in the fourth quarter, compared to the fourth quarter of 2007, greatly contrasting with decreases in the other four boroughs. Over the same period, the Bronx showed a 53 percent decline, Brooklyn showed a 23 percent decline and Manhattan showed a 19 percent decline.

Staniford conjectured that Queens’ high concentration of single-family homes, which have been hit hardest by the negative consequences of subprime lending, is one reason for its high rate of foreclosures. He noted that Jamaica, in particular, was hit hard by predatory lending practices.