Foreclosure filings have nearly doubled in the first half of the year over the same period last year, say county clerks whose offices handle the paperwork.
This is clear evidence that while home sales are rising and mortgage rates are relatively low, there are many property owners in the region who remain in serious financial trouble.
The foreclosure activity is “the highest since the foreclosure crisis began,” said Westchester County Clerk Timothy Idoni, who reported Tuesday that his office had 1,426 foreclosure actions begun between Jan. 1 and June 30 this year, as compared with 824 during the same period last year.
There were 151 foreclosure judgments in the first half of 2013 as compared with 93 for the first half of 2012.
Sometimes initial filings prompt “short sales” of properties before the bank before the owner.
In Putnam County there were 289 foreclosure filings from Jan. 1 to June 30 this year, compared with 154 during the same period last year.
Of these numbers there were 35 final judgments in the first half of 2013 as compared with 18 judgments in the same period last year and 49 in all of 2012.
Rockland County officials did not have numbers for the filings and judgments immediately available, but promised to compile their numbers and we will report when we get them in hand.
“As foreclosure activity in Westchester County increases, so does the risk that our residents will fall prey to a foreclosure scheme,” said Idoni. He urged residents to seek help from a trained foreclosure counselor and legal specialist.
Carey Lance Hollander of GFI Mortgage Bankers, Inc., based in Manhattan with an office in Armonk, speculated that the jump in filings could be due to the culmination of mortgage revision attempts and a backlog of paperwork.
“Enough time has gone by and some still have to go through the foreclosure process,” he said recently. “It is finally catching up.”
He said the “mortgage crisis” has educated lenders on how to better qualify applicants and has educated consumers on lending options.