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Report: Pending Foreclosure Rates Up In Westchester

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Pending home foreclosure rates in Westchester have increased 15.8 percent in the past year, mirroring a trend of increasing foreclosure rates in the Mid-Hudson Valley region, according to a report released Monday by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s Office.

The “Mid-Hudson” region—defined by the report as Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester counties—had the largest increase in pending foreclosure cases since last year, at 18 percent.

“The foreclosure crisis is far from resolved, and there are still too many people losing their homes,” DiNapoli said. “In many places the situation has continued to get worse. Foreclosed properties displace families and weigh heavily on local communities, reducing property values and eroding tax bases. We must continue efforts to help homeowners and stem the spread of foreclosure-induced blight.”

According to the report, downstate counties outside of New York City, including Long Island and the Mid-Hudson region, have been hit the hardest with foreclosures. While Westchester had a high increase in pending foreclosure cases, it received better marks than its neighbors. Suffolk, Nassau, Rockland, and Putnam were the four counties with the highest foreclosure rates overall.

This increase of foreclosures can be attributed to a hangover from the Great Recession and housing crash that happened nearly a decage ago.

“Foreclosure filings rose rapidly after the housing bubble burst and the recession of 2008-2009 took hold,” DiNapoli said in his report.

Between 2006 and 2009, the number of new foreclosure cases jumped by nearly 80 percent, according to the report. While new foreclosure filings have shown signs of leveling off since 2013, they still remain significantly higher than pre-recession levels.

Improvements in the housing market in general have been flattening in years since the recession slowed. In February, the Case-Shiller Index found that home prices nationwide climbed only 4.6 percent in 2014, the slowest rate since 2011.

“The housing recovery is faltering,” David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones, told the Los Angeles Times.

Despite the fact that foreclosure filings remain high, there are some small indications of improvement in the market. In addition to a number of NY State governmental entities making efforts to resolve stalled cases, “foreclosure activity at the beginning of the process is slowing, while activity at the end of the process (notices of sale, notification that the property has been scheduled for public auction) is accelerating,” the report said.

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