Pro Bono News

Foreclosure Activity Ticks Upward in Capital Region in 2018 (NY)

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Foreclosure Activity Ticks Upward in Capital Region in 2018

"ALBANY — Several Capital Region counties saw an uptick in foreclosure activity in 2018.

The state comptroller’s office earlier this month issued the latest of several reports on mortgage foreclosures it has compiled annually since the financial crisis a decade ago.

Using data provided by the state Office of Court Administration, the report tallies all mortgage foreclosures on the court calendar each year at the end of Term 7, which typically runs from mid-June to mid-July. These include residential and non-residential mortgages and multiple mortgages on the same property.

The state as a whole and every one of its regions saw substantially less foreclosure activity in 2018 than in 2013, the reports showed, though some regions saw an increase from 2017 to 2018. The comptroller’s office noted that changes in court data reporting systems had boosted the 2018 numbers in a few counties, including Saratoga County.

The Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York is involved in many of these foreclosure cases in and around the Capital Region, assisting 391 households since April 1, 2018.

Geri Pomerantz, managing attorney of Legal Aid's Foreclosure Prevention Project, said there are two ways of tallying foreclosure actions: Initial notices of delinquency issued to mortgage holders and cases that reach the court.

“The important numbers are the delinquency numbers, and they’ve been increasing,” Pomerantz said. “That data really tells you that people are in trouble.”

Legal Aid attorney Marlene Morales said: “We’ve seen some people re-defaulting on their loans as interest rates step up.”

Morales said expiration of the federal Home Affordable Modification Program is likely a factor in this, as it had provided assistance to those with a documented financial hardship.

One of the success stories for the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York was Donald and Donna Connors, who bought a house at the height of the 2000s real estate boom, saw their $1,300-a-month payment double under an adjustable-rate mortgage payment and lost the client base of their printing company to old age and changing technology.

Legal Aid attorney Shruti Joshi renegotiated their monthly payment to less than the original amount, Donald fell back on his plumbing skills, Donna started a business, and the couple were able to keep their home..."

Continue reading