NYC Foreclosures Drop, But Don’t Get Giddy


The good news? The overall number of foreclosures in New York City dropped dramatically in 2010 after a spike in woeful 2009. The bad news? The number of foreclosed buildings is still staggering, and the city’s overall rate of foreclosures is high.

Those are part of the mixed bag of conclusions in the 2010 version of The State of New York City’s Housing and Neighborhoods, an annual report issued by NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate & Urban Policy. This year’s report zooms in on the impact of foreclosures on the 55,000 multi-family rental properties that are home to four in 10 New York households.

The flood of information may help you understand why your apartment building and those of your friends are deteriorating.

As the report notes:

Renters in multi-family rental buildings experience uncertainty or deteriorating living conditions when the property they inhabit faces foreclosure.

Among the sobering facts in the nearly 150-page report:

• The foreclosure rate for very large multifamily rental properties (100 or more units) remains lower than the rate for smaller properties, but looking back over time, the foreclosure rate for larger properties has almost doubled during the past five years when compared with the previous five-year period.

• Despite the drop in total notices of foreclosures, the numbers are grim. The neighborhoods hardest-hit by foreclosure are in southeast Queens, north-central Brooklyn, and Staten Island’s north shore. The three community districts with the highest rates of foreclosure are Brownsville, Bed-Stuy, and East New York/Starrett City. Not everyone is feeling equal pain: More than half of properties that actually went through foreclosure in 2010 are in fewer than nine percent of the city’s 59 community districts.

• Judging by the number of housing-code violations in buildings under financial stress, living conditions begin to deteriorate in the months even before the buildings receive notices of foreclosure, let alone afterwards. And as real estate prices go down, rents are going up. (Which means that tenants’ complaints about crumbling buildings — such as those highlighted by the Voice‘s “Ten Worst Landlords” stories and continuing coverage — aren’t likely to abate.)

• In a city desperate for decent and affordable housing, construction of residential units is way down. In Manhattan, the number of new units authorized by building permits was only 265 in 2010, compared with 9,735 in 2008. Ten of Manhattan’s 12 community districts received zero permits for new residential construction, the report notes.