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Press Release
New York Total Foreclosure Activity Decreased in First Quarter While National Filings Increased
Suffolk County Replaced Queens as Hardest Hit County

April 21, 2009

New York, N.Y.: The New York State Banking Department and RealtyTrac® released New York county-level foreclosure statistics for the first quarter ending March 31, 2009.  According to RealtyTrac there were foreclosure filings on 11,017 properties in New York during the first quarter, representing a 23% decrease compared to the first quarter of last year and a 32% increase over the previous quarter.

The 23% decrease year over year, compares very favorably to the national 24% increase, demonstrating the success of the state's diverse foreclosure prevention efforts. However, the 32% increase over the previous quarter is well above the national increase of 9%.

One of the primary factors driving the 32% increase in the quarter over quarter comparison was an 80% increase in lis pendens filings, which is one of the first steps in the foreclosure process.   The Banking Department and RealtyTrac were anticipating an increase in lis pendens as a result of the state’s new legislation, which went into effect in September 2008, and required a 90-day pre-foreclosure waiting period.  The legislation resulted in a sharp decrease in New York foreclosure activity in the fourth quarter of 2008, and the first quarter of 2009 numbers represent a bounce from the fourth quarter lows but are still substantially below year-ago levels.  The unusually large increase also reflects other industry initiatives, including voluntary bank measures at the end of last year intended to delay the foreclosure process which expired in the first quarter.

Suffolk County, with 1,773 filings in the first quarter 2009, replaced Queens as the county with the highest number of filings. On a nationwide basis, New York’s overall ranking continued to improve, dropping from 35th at the end of 2008 to 37th at the end of the first quarter.

“While New York’s overall rank among the other states continues to improve, we must not become complacent.  There are still pockets where foreclosure levels continue to rise at alarming rates,” said Richard H. Neiman, Superintendent of Banks for New York.  “Four of our counties alone – Suffolk, Queens, Brooklyn and Nassau – represent 50% of the total foreclosure activity in the state.  It is imperative that we continue our efforts to help homeowners and restore stability to these neighborhoods.”

 “Despite the first quarter increase, New York continues to document a much lower foreclosure rate than many other states,” said Rick Sharga, RealtyTrac Senior Vice President. “Still, it’s too early to say that New York is out of the woods when it comes to foreclosures.  Higher unemployment, resetting mortgages and continuing deterioration in home prices could put more homeowners at risk for foreclosure this year.”

Below are some notable findings:

  • Compared to the fourth quarter, the first quarter had no change in the counties comprising the top ten most impacted by foreclosure filings.  However, the order of the top ten changed with Suffolk County moving into first place and replacing Queens, which is now number two.
  • Lis pendens filings in the first quarter represented 69% of total filings; these filings that occur early in the foreclosure process represent less than 40% of total filings for the country as a whole.
  • In the first quarter, all but one of the counties in the top ten had higher foreclosure filings than in the fourth quarter.
  • The top 20 counties continue to represent over 90% of total filings in the state.  All but three of those counties worsened in the first quarter compared to the fourth quarter of 2009.
  • Of the 62 counties in the State, 32 had fewer foreclosure filings in the first quarter compared to the fourth quarter of 2008. 

The following tables with first quarter 2009 data are accessible on the Banking Department Web site:

  • Top twenty counties in New York for foreclosure filings
  • Foreclosure filings alphabetically by county for all 62 counties
  • Foreclosure filings by percentage of filings for all 62 counties

Subprime Lending Reform Bill
New York’s subprime lending reform bill was signed into effect in August 2008 by Governor David A. Paterson. An important element of the bill is the mandatory pre-foreclosure notice that requires lenders to send a notice to borrowers of high-cost home loans, subprime home loans and non traditional home loans at least 90 days before the lender may commence legal action against the borrower. This mandatory component, which went into effect on September 1, 2008, was designed to encourage dialogue between borrowers, lenders and counselors in an effort to reach agreement on loan modifications and limit the number of unnecessary foreclosures.

About the Banking Department
The New York State Banking Department is the regulator for all state-chartered banking institutions, virtually all of the United States offices of international banking institutions, all of the State’s mortgage brokers, mortgage bankers, check cashers, money transmitters and budget planners. The aggregate assets of the depository institutions supervised by the Banking Department are more than $2.2 trillion. In addition to regulating banking institutions, the Banking Department is active in informing and educating all New Yorkers on banking matters. To contact the Banking Department, please call 1-877-BANK-NYS or visit our Web site at www.banking.state.ny.us.

About RealtyTrac®
RealtyTrac® (www.realtytrac.com) is the leading online marketplace of foreclosure properties, with more than 1.5 million default, auction and bank-owned listings from over 2,200 U.S. counties, along with detailed property, loan and home sales data.  Hosting more than 3 million unique monthly visitors, RealtyTrac provides innovative technology solutions and practical education resources to facilitate buying, selling and investing in real estate.  RealtyTrac’s foreclosure data has also been used by the Federal Reserve, FBI, U.S. Senate Joint Economic Committee and Banking Committee, U.S. Treasury Department, and numerous state housing and banking departments to help evaluate foreclosure trends and address policy issues related to foreclosures.

Top twenty counties in New York for foreclosure filings – first quarter 2009
Foreclosure filings alphabetically by county for all 62 counties – first quarter 2009
Foreclosure filings by percentage of filings for all 62 counties – first quarter 2009

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