Home foreclosure judgements soared 80 percent in Westchester County during the first quarter as local residents felt the fallout from a slowing economy and weakening housing market.
There were 243 foreclosure judgements across the county during the quarter, up from 135 a year ago and 76 in 2005, according to statistics released by the Westchester County Clerkâ€™s office.
â€œWe want Westchester residents to be able to live comfortably in our county, but the first quarter of 2008, which ended on March 31st, brought with it another significant increase in foreclosure filings,â€ County Clerk Timothy C. Idoni said. â€œWestchester residents need our help.â€
The statistics also showed that 759 foreclosure actions were initiated by financial institutions in Westchester during the quarter, up 43 percent from a year earlier. These action filings do not necessarily mean that residents will lose their homes. Some homeowners end up avoiding foreclosure by entering into a repayment plan, securing a modified loan, refinancing with another lender or selling the home on their own.
If a foreclosure judgement is granted, the home or building is sold at a foreclosure auction and the proceeds of sale are used to pay off the loan.
The numbers show that foreclosure actions and judgements were highest in Yonkers and Mount Vernon among the countyâ€™s four largest cities.
Numbers for those four cities were as follows during the quarter:
â€¢Mount Vernon: 102 foreclosure actions, up from 75 a year earlier; 57 foreclosure judgements, up from 27 a year earlier.
â€¢Yonkers: 212 foreclosure actions, up from 136 a year earlier; 55 foreclosure judgements, up from 36 a year earlier.
â€¢New Rochelle: 50 foreclosure actions, up from 37 a year earlier; 13 foreclosure judgements, up from 7 a year earlier.
â€¢White Plains: 54 foreclosure actions, up from 35 a year earlier; 10 foreclosure judgements, up from 4 a year earlier.
Idoni advised residents who have received warning letters from their bank or lender, or who have fallen behind on their payments, to seek help immediately.
The New York State Senate Westchester delegation is sponsoring â€œOperation Protect Your Homeâ€ on Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. at Roosevelt High School, 631 Tuckahoe Road in Yonkers. There will be various educational seminars throughout the day and opportunities to meet with mortgage counselors.
Residents can also contact Westchester Residential Opportunities, a non-profit housing agency with offices in White Plains and Mount Vernon, at 914-428-4507 or visit the website at www.wroinc.org.