2015 Foreclosure Judgments Increase to Highest Since 2008
New foreclosure actions are still be filed at a significant rate in Westchester county
I just received a call from a reporter at the Westchester Business Journal this week asking about foreclosures and specifically the large surge in Foreclosure Judgments in Westchester this year. While the foreclosure crisis has somewhat disappeared from our national dialogue and news, it is still going strong in many areas. For the 3rd quarter in Westchester County, Judgments were the highest since 2008 and over 100 more than the 3rd quarter the previous year and new foreclosure cases are still being filed at a significant rate.
A Foreclosure Judgement or Judgment of Foreclosure and Sale is the last step in the foreclosure process. After this is signed and entered the bank may publish notice of the auction in a local newspaper with an auction date. The properties in Westchester County set for auction are auction in the lobby of the Supreme Court in White Plains. So the surge in Judgments is a direct result of foreclosure actions that have languished for years finally reaching their conclusion. Some of these cases have been going on for 5 years or more.
Additionally, the foreclosure process in Westchester has improved, shortening the timeframe in many foreclosures resulting in more judgements.
I get numerous phone calls every week with homeowners asking what they can do now that they have received an auction date. The options are limited. You can always file bankruptcy but that will generally only buy a few months. The chances of having the time to get a loan modification are also very slim. One way we have been able to stop the sale is to get the property listed right away and try to get in contract in enough time before the sale so as to have the bank cancel the auction.
New Foreclosure Cases
In Westchester alone in September and October a total of 56 new Request’s for Judicial Intervention were file in foreclosure actions. A Request for judicial Intervention is done after a Summons and Complaint are filed and is the next step in civil litigation and foreclosure cases. Most foreclosures cases will then get the mandatory settlement conference that is required in most foreclosure cases. If it is not your primary home then you do not get a foreclosure conference or if you do the case will be removed.
I spoke with a bank attorney the other day regarding all these new foreclosure cases. I was told that many if not the majority of these new cases were people defaulting of previous loan modifications that they received. Over the years we have seen many people accept loan modifications that really stretched their ability to afford to keep their homes. Most homeowners still accept these because they want to keep their homes and this in many instances is the only way to do that. Many families have still never fully recovered from the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009.
So going forward we expect to see the increase in Judgments and new filings at a high lever keeping the foreclosure crisis going with no real end in sight.