We have been told that the rate of mortgage delinquencies has been declining over the last year. Let’s see.
In the NYC metro area, the banks drastically cut back foreclosing on properties in the spring of 2009 and have never changed their policy. This has nothing to do with the robo-signing scandal which occurred 18 months later.
Through sheer persistence, I obtained accurate statistics on serious delinquencies from the New York State Division of Banking. Let me explain.
In late 2009, the NYS legislature passed a law requiring all servicing banks in the state to send a “pre-foreclosure” notice to all delinquent owner occupants. It warned them of possible foreclosure and explained steps they could take to prevent this. These servicing banks were also required to report to the Banking Division all notices that were sent.
The Division published preliminary figures in October 2010 but has never updated these numbers. Here is what I learned.
Through the end of March 2012, a total of 192,000+ pre-foreclosure notices had been sent to delinquent owners in NYC. This does not include delinquent investor-owned properties because the law did not require servicers to send notices to them. There are lots of 2-3 family homes in the four outer boroughs of NYC. I estimate that there are roughly 75,000+ delinquent investor-owners.
This means there are roughly 265,000 seriously delinquent homeowners in NYC who have not yet been foreclosed. Why so many? The banks do not foreclose in NYC. As of May 24, foreclosure.com reported a total of 301 foreclosed properties on the active MLS and 103 in Brooklyn. Together, these two boroughs
have a total of 4.7 million residents. That is more people than live in Maricopa County where Phoenix is situated.
Hard as it may be to believe, the situation is even worse on Long Island. With fewer than 3 million occupants, Nassau and Suffolk Counties showed a total of 175,000 pre-foreclosure notices sent out as of the end of March.