NYC foreclosure activity drops 24 percent, state ranks 10th lowest in country

By Sarabeth Sanders | July 15, 2010 12:30AM

Home foreclosure activity in New York City continued its pattern of ups and downs during the first six months of 2010,
climbing 3 percent on a year-over-year basis but registering a 24
percent drop from the six months prior, according to the latest
foreclosure market report from RealtyTrac.

“It’s been a little
bit of a roller coaster ride,” said Daren Blomquist, a spokesperson for
RealtyTrac. “Even though you see a big decrease from the previous six
months, in most of the boroughs there’s either a slight increase or
maybe a big increase from a year ago, so that tells me we’re not truly
trending downward…basically, things are staying steady.”

It
was a similar story statewide, where 24,506 housing units were hit with
foreclosure notices during the first half of the year, up 1.22 percent
from the same time last year but down 19.84 percent from the previous
six months, RealtyTrac data shows.

Meanwhile, bank repossessions
in particular were way up during the second quarter, registering a 47
percent year-over-year statewide spike that may indicate that lenders
are catching up on their foreclosure backlogs, Blomquist said.

But
the state’s foreclosure rate — 0.31 percent, or one in every 326
properties — was the 10th-lowest in the country, well below the
national average of 1.28 percent.

The city’s rate was even lower at 0.29 percent, with 9,561 properties receiving foreclosure notices during the first half of 2010.

“Even
though the foreclosure numbers are low, there are a couple of
mitigating factors in New York that make it harder to get a read,”
Blomquist cautioned. “New York has the longest foreclosure process of
any state, so there’s less immediacy in the numbers. It can take over a
year, whereas in [some] other states it is as short as a month.”

He
continued: “The other factor is that New York has been fairly
aggressive in enacting legislation to prevent foreclosure,” referring
to recent state legislation that allows struggling borrowers an extra
90 days to try to correct the situation before the foreclosure process
can start.

Even still, certain pockets of the city are
suffering. There were five New York City zip codes with foreclosure
rates that beat the national average in the first half of the year. Zip
code 11436, in South Jamaica, Queens, had the highest foreclosure rate
in the five boroughs with 1.79 percent of housing units receiving
notices during the first six months of 2010. Jamaica has been the New York City neighborhood hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis.

Next-highest
was 10303, in the northwest corner of Staten Island, which had a rate
of 1.49 percent. That was followed by Lower Manhattan’s zip code 10005,
which, despite its very small number of housing units, had a 1.46
percent foreclosure rate because of eight homes that received
foreclosure notices during the six-month stretch.

Also besting
the national average for foreclosures were two zip codes near St.
Albans, Queens — 11412 and 11429, which had 1.33 percent and 1.31
percent foreclosure rates, respectively.