New York - City Foreclosures Drop 38% in May


New York - In another sign that the residential real estate market across the city is mending, the number of new foreclosures dropped steeply last month, according to latest data released by PropertyShark.com. But the good news may yet prove short-lived.

New foreclosures across New York City dropped 38% last month from the same time a year ago and dipped 30% from the previous month. Surprisingly, Queens, which has been littered with foreclosures throughout the economic downturn, experienced a marked improvement, with the number of foreclosures there plummeting 63% from year earlier levels. Meanwhile, the number of foreclosures on Staten Island, which had also been hard hit by the recession, remained unchanged.

In contrast, the situation in the Bronx deteriorated sharply last month. There, the number of foreclosures more than doubled from last year.

“Three months ago people were thinking that we were going back into a bull market, so now we see less foreclosure,” said Bill Staniford, PropertyShark's chief executive, noting that foreclosures lag behind changes in the overall economy. “But my crystal ball tells me we are not out of the woods yet. We still have plenty of pain to get through.”

Mr. Staniford notes that Queens and Staten Island got a break from a long period of rising foreclosures in part because the comparisons are to May 2009, when foreclosures in both boroughs set new records. Despite the borough-wide improvement, the Queens Zip code of 11433, which covers the neighborhood of Jamaica, South Jamaica, Hollis and St. Albans, recorded the highest number of foreclosures last month. It was tied with the Bronx Zip code of 10466—which covers Williamsbridge, Baychester, Woodlawn, Wakefield and Eastchester—for that dubious distinction.

In Manhattan, the number of foreclosures shriveled by 77% last month from a year ago, while in Brooklyn foreclosures rose 28%. According to Mr. Staniford, data in both boroughs tend to be less significant in determining the health of the market because property values in Manhattan and Brooklyn tend to hold up better than in the other boroughs.

“Anecdotally we are experiencing stabilization, however, whether it is sustainable depends on whether the economy and financial sector holds up,” he said, adding that the job market is still tight.

Crain's NY

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