New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said that despite recent leveling off of foreclosures in the state, the problem is "far from resolved," according to a report released by DiNapoli's office on Monday titled "The Foreclosure Predicament Persists."
Since DiNapoli's office first reported on the impact of foreclosure activity on local governments in New York back in 2012, the trends in both new foreclosure filings and the number of pending foreclosure cases indicate that foreclosures remain a significant problem in New York seven years after the financial crisis and five years after the nationwide foreclosure peak.
CoreLogic reported that in June 2015, New York's foreclosure inventory rate (the percentage of residential mortgages in some state of foreclosure) was 3.7 percent, three times the national rate for the month of 1.3 percent and second among states (New Jersey had 4.7 percent). And this was after a 16 percent decline in foreclosure inventory in New York from June 2014.
According to CoreLogic, New York's serious delinquency rate for June was 6.7 percent, nearly double the national average of 3.5 percent for the month. New York's total of 9,981 completed foreclosures for the 12-month period ending June 30, 2015, was sixth among judicial foreclosure states and 16th overall.
In the years immediately before and after the crisis, foreclosure filings rose by 78 percent in New York, from 27,000 up to 47,000. Anti-robo-signing rules for lenders enacted in October 2010 caused the number of filings to drop to 16,600 by 2011, but the number had risen back to slightly less than 47,000 by 2013. In 2014, they had fallen slightly to nearly 44,000. While the number of new foreclosure filings has been leveling off in the last two years, DiNapoli's report says they are still elevated from their pre-recession levels. Also, the number of pending foreclosure cases has tapered off since May 2014, hovering around 92,000 in the last year– about 27 percent higher than in May 2013.
"In addition, the State’s courts are experiencing difficulties working through a large backlog of foreclosure cases pending in the State’s long and complicated judicial foreclosure process," DiNaploli said in the report. "This large pool of properties in legal limbo weighs on local governments’ vitality in many ways, including reducing property values, eroding tax bases and propagating blight."
DiNapoli reported that many major banks and services in New York agreed to follow a set of best practices regarding managing vacant and abandoned properties prior to beginning the foreclosure process. The practices include inspecting, securing, and maintaining the properties throughout the loan's delinquency. DiNapoli said while the banks engage their best practices to maintain the properties, however, it is up to all of the stakeholders (courts, banks, local governments, and other groups) to work together to keep blight from spreading.