Thursday, April 23, 2009

Our BK Lawyer Makes the News

...and come to find out, she is PRESIDENT of the BK Bar! You just go girl Barbara!

New state law stalls foreclosures
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
By Jason Subik (Contact)
Gazette Reporter

CAPITAL REGION — The Capital Region’s five-county core saw 287 houses in various stages of foreclosure in the first three months of 2009, a 52.8 percent drop from the fourth quarter of 2008. But the drop in foreclosures is likely due to a new state law that places limitations on the foreclosure process, a bankrupcty lawyer’s group says.

In comparison, first-quarter foreclosures nationwide are up 23.6 percent from the fourth quarter of 2008, according to California-based online foreclosure tracking firm Their report showed 803,489 foreclosures nationwide for the first quarter.

According to RealtyTrac, one out of every 159 homes in the nation is in some stage of the foreclosure process. The states most heavily hit by foreclosures were California, Florida, Arizona, Nevada and Illinois, which combined account for 60 percent of the nation’s total.

In New York state, foreclosures dropped 23.37 percent from the fourth quarter of 2008, totaling only 11,017, or one out of every 721 housing units.

Capital Region Bankruptcy Bar Association President Barbara Whipple said the steep drop in foreclosures in New York likely reflects legislation signed by Gov. David Paterson in August requiring lenders to send borrowers pre-foreclosure notices 90 days before issuing notices of default. The law, which took effect in phases, also mandates that lenders hold settlement conferences with certain subprime borrowers. She said the conferences can take an additional 30 days to set up and longer to resolve, further extending the foreclosure process.

“These judicial conferences are somewhat bogging down the system now. I think actually getting to a foreclosure sale is taking a lot longer than ever before,” Whipple said. “At these conferences, they try to renegotiate the loans before they go into a complete foreclosure situation. It’s slowing things down, but I’m not sure how optimistic I am about the outcome in the long run. If the loan is too high to begin with and you can’t make a meaningful modification of the loan, you’re just putting yourself back in a position where you’re eventually going to default.”

According to RealtyTrac, there were zero notices of default — the first stage of the foreclosure process — in New York state during the first quarter. California, by contrast, had 124,875.

In the Capital Region, Albany County had 110 properties at foreclosure auction during the first quarter, Schenectady County had four and Saratoga, Rensselaer and Schoharie counties had none. Banks repurchased 35 homes in Albany County, 19 in Rensselaer County, 11 in Saratoga County, two in Schenectady County and one in Schoharie County.

Going forward, 138 properties have been listed for eventual foreclosure sale in Albany County, 51 in Rensselaer County, 46 in Schenectady County, 29 in Saratoga County, nine in Rensselaer County and one in Schoharie County.

The Albany-Schenectady-Troy metro area ranked 186th in foreclosures among the 200 metro areas profiled by RealtyTrac.

Greater Capital Association of Realtors CEO James Ader said the numbers in the Capital Region reflect the relative strength of the economy here. He said although state legislation may have only slowed down the foreclosure process, the slowing down will help maintain home equity in New York state.

“It’s good. The more foreclosures that come on the market, the more it tends to depress housing values,” Ader said.

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