With settlement elusive, foreclosures continue to tumble citywide

By Sarabeth Sanders | April 11, 2011 05:38PM

(source: PropertyShark)

Scheduled foreclosure auctions on residential properties fell by another 47 percent in New York City last quarter, according to the latest figures from PropertyShark.com, which tracks the number of first-time home auctions planned citywide. Foreclosures have been on the decline in the city since last fall, when some of the nation’s largest lenders imposed freezes in response to an investigation into improper foreclosure practices by a coalition of attorneys general from all 50 states.

The coalition is said to be in the midst of discussing the terms of a proposed settlement with lenders, which would likely include some combination of fines, penalties and new regulations. But no agreement has been reached, and several news outlets have reported infighting amongst state officials over how severe banks’ punishment should be.

Meanwhile, the uncertainty has ground foreclosures to a virtual standstill. The 256 New York City foreclosures scheduled in the first quarter also represent a 67 percent nosedive in that metric from one year prior, when there were 767 scheduled. The declines were most pronounced in Staten Island and Queens, the two boroughs hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis, with foreclosures down by 68 percent and 61 percent, respectively, compared to the fourth quarter of 2010.

In Brooklyn and the Bronx, foreclosures dropped by 41 percent and 31 percent, respectively, over that time period, while in Manhattan, which has been least affected — and also most prone to fluctuation — foreclosures were up by 46 percent from the fourth quarter.

Lis pendens, which mark the first step in the foreclosure process, dropped a less-dramatic 4 percent on a quarter-over-quarter basis, and 30 percent year-over-year.

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