NY comptroller says high home foreclosure level persists -Democrat & Chronicle- August 18, 2015

NY comptroller says high home foreclosure level persists
By: Jon Campbell, Albany bureau

ALBANY – Foreclosure filings in New York remain more prevalent than they were prior to the housing crisis but have begun to level off, according to a report Monday.

There were 43,868 new foreclosure cases filed last year in New York courts, down from 46,696 the previous year, the report from Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office found. The rate of filings remains well above pre-recession levels, however: 26,706 new cases were filed in 2006.

Despite the drop in new filings, a backlog of cases remains. Many of those are downstate, including a growing caseload in the Hudson Valley.

Statewide, there were 92,070 pending cases as of January 2015, which had remained largely steady since May 2014 after increasing from 72,183 at the beginning of 2013, according to the report.

“Foreclosed properties displace families and weigh heavily on local communities, reducing property values and eroding tax bases,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “We must continue efforts to help homeowners and stem the spread of foreclosure-induced blight.”

DiNapoli’s report shows some regions of the state have fared better than others. New York City’s suburbs, where property values are high, have seen a growing buildup of foreclosure proceedings.

Two of the four counties with the highest foreclosure rates were in the lower Hudson Valley: Rockland, where 2.26 percent of housing units are the subject of pending foreclosures; and Putnam, with 2.1 percent. Only Nassau (2.47 percent) and Suffolk (2.82 percent) on Long Island had higher county rates.

In the mid-to-lower Hudson Valley region — defined in the report as Dutchess County stretching south through Westchester County — there were 13,385 pending foreclosure cases at the start of 2015, up 18 percent from 11,342 in 2014. In January 2013, there were 6,410 pending cases in the region, according to the report.

Of the seven counties in the region, Westchester had the most pending cases with 4,137 at the start of the year. The county’s foreclosure rate was the lowest in the region, however, at 1.12 percent of housing units.

Dutchess County had 1,705 pending foreclosure cases, or 1.44 percent of housing units.

Most other regions saw a slower increase in their pending caseload.

The Finger Lakes — which includes Monroe County and surrounding counties — saw a 4.2 percent bump in pending cases from 2014 to 2015, from 3,740 to 3,898. The region had just 2,322 pending foreclosures at the beginning of 2013.

Monroe had 2,622 of those pending cases at the start of the year, or 0.82 percent of housing units.

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