Lisa Chow is the economics reporter at WNYC. She tries to explore in her stories surprising aspects of New York’s many economies—in plain view or hidden, in neighborhoods or sectors.
New Court Rule Drives Down Foreclosures in NYC
Monday, June 13, 2011 - 12:00 AM
Housing advocates say foreclosure actions have fallen dramatically in New York City, primarily because state courts now require loan servicers and banks to verify the accuracy of their documents in foreclosure cases.
Last October, New York's chief judge Jonathan Lippman announced the new requirement in response to the robo-signing scandal, which revealed that servicers were signing foreclosure documents without even reading them.
"And it's right after that that we saw the first big drop-off in foreclosure actions filed in New York City on 1- to 4-family homes," said Sarah Ludwig, founder of the Manhattan-based advocacy group, NEDAP. The new rule "definitely sent out a message to the industry and put the brakes on the filing of foreclosure actions for awhile."
Foreclosure notices in New York City dropped more than 20 percent in the first quarter of this year, compared to the same period last year, according to figures published by NYU's Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. And it's taking double the time for banks to go through the court process to seize properties from delinquent homeowners -- one year in 2007, compared to two years in 2010.
But delinquency rates are still high, which suggests foreclosures are not disappearing any time soon.
"We're very far from through this crisis," Ludwig said. "So I think we have to brace ourselves for continued waves of bad times for a lot of homeowners and communities."