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Queens foreclosure cases decreasing as state faces problems

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons/Taber Andrew Bain

Though New York State continues to see high levels of foreclosure activity, New York City – including Queens — is experiencing a decrease in foreclosure cases, according to the state comptroller’s office.

In a report released Monday, State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli highlighted that New York State continues to face high levels of foreclosure activity as new foreclosure filings remain considerably higher than prerecession levels.

Between 2006 and 2009, the number of new foreclosure cases filed increased from 26,706 to 47,664, a growth of 78 percent. In 2011 and 2012, the number declined with new court rules issued requiring lenders to confirm their claim to the property. Then since reaching 16,655 in 2011, new filings went up to 46,696 by 2013 before falling to 43,868 last year.

“The foreclosure crisis is far from resolved, and there are still too many people losing their homes,” said DiNapoli, who also reported on the foreclosure issue in 2012. “In many places the situation has continued to get worse. Foreclose properties displace families and weigh heavily on local communities, reducing property values and eroding tax bases. We must continue efforts to help homeowners and stem the spread of foreclosure-induced blight.”

The report also shows the number of pending foreclosure cases increased by 27 percent from the beginning of 2013 to May 2014 — from 72,183 to over 91,600. Since then, the pending number of cases has remained steady at over 90,000.

According to the comptroller’s report, areas immediately outside of New York City – such as Long Island and the mid-Hudson region – have seen the greatest number of pending foreclosures with cases rising 63 percent from 25,097 at the beginning of 2013 to 40,985 this year.

However, although pending foreclosure cases across upstate grew by 47 percent, New York City experienced nearly a drop of 10 percent over the two-year period.

For Queens, the situation looks to be “improving,” according to the report, with a high foreclosure rate of around 1.25 percent but decreasing caseload. At the beginning of 2013 Queens had 12,497 pending foreclosure cases and in the beginning of this year it saw 10,667, a decrease of 14.1 percent.

The state courts’ efforts to work through a large backlog of foreclosure cases become difficult through the state’s complicated judicial foreclosure process. However, a number of state agencies, such as the Unified Court System, the Department of Financial Services and the office of state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, are making efforts to resolve any cases which may have become stalled, monitor properties with delinquent mortgages and return vacant abandoned properties to productive use.

Schneiderman awarded close to $33 million to land banks across the state which will be used to demolish vacant and abandoned homes, renovate and resell homes, and support other development activities.

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