Active Rain February 21, 2011

Westchester Foreclosure Filings Down 50%

According to the Journal News, the number of foreclosure filings in Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam County is down quite a bit. Westchester is down 50% from October 2010 through January 2011 compared to the same period from 2009 to 2010. The numbers are equally impressive in Rockland (39%) and Putnam (51%). 

Does this mean we are out of the woods? Hardly. The reason for the decline is the Robo-signing Scandal, which has caused a judge to order banks to show proof of attorney review of all foreclosure documents. That is a daunting task in light of the still-enormously -high mortgages that are behind, underwater, or both. Banks are just taking longer to file lis pendens against people who are not paying. In January of 2008, 243 lis pendens were filed. That number this past January was only 133. The banks are just being more careful. 

The number of actual foreclosures in Westchester is down to a trickle. This past January, only 6 full judgments were filed -in other words, only 6 people had their homes taken back. In 2008, that number was 83. Again, not because everyone is paying their bill like magic; the lenders are just having to be far more deliberate. 

If anything, this means that we’ll continue to see short sales as an everyday thing, the shadow inventory will still be waiting in the wings, and loan modifications will continue to clog the housing courts.