New York City First-Time Foreclosures at Seven-Year Low

JAN 14, 2013 12:27pm ET

Foreclosure activity in all New York City boroughs continued to slow down in 2012, with first-time foreclosures that are up for auction reaching a seven-year low.

According to the real estate research website PropertyShark.com, the total number of first-time New York foreclosures scheduled for auction in 2012 was 912. This figure represents a 76% drop from 2008 at the beginning of the housing market collapse when 3,874 housing units were available for auction. Furthermore, from a year ago, this represents a more modest 8% decrease.

In other encouraging news for the area, 4Q 2012 properties up for auction remained pretty steady from the prior quarter and also were down 2% from the same time period last year, the New York-based research firm said.

Overall, foreclosure activity fell in the region 8% from 2011 to 2012. Also, there was a 76% drop compared to 2008.

Manhattan was the No. 1 borough that saw the most significant drop in first-time foreclosures with a 23% year-over-year decrease. There were 154 Manhattan foreclosures scheduled for auction in 2012, which is still a 28% increase compared to the start of the housing crisis.

In Queens, the number of new foreclosures was 358, down by 10% from 2011 and 85% from 2008.

Brooklyn first-time foreclosures continued to experience a decline in 2012. With 164, foreclosures are down by 18% compared to 2011 and by 67% over 2008.

One potential reason why first-time foreclosures reached a seven-year low is due to the fact that New York State has the slowest default foreclosure process throughout the country, according to RealtyTrac, taking approximately three years to complete a foreclosure.

Meanwhile, default notices recorded in New York in 2012 increased year-over-year by 14% to 11,877 properties, which could symbolize that this lull in foreclosure activity could be a temporary event.

“The number of foreclosures we are seeing today is smaller than what we were seeing back in 2006, before the market collapsed, which is very encouraging,” said Andrew McElhone, industry principal for PropertyShark. “However, with a 14% uptick in lis pendens over the last year, we will have to keep a close eye in the new year to see if this is the new normal, or only a small phase we are currently going through.”

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