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Even with surge in foreclosures post-Sandy, real estate prices in Queens …

One year after Hurricane Sandy, New York area homeowners are drowning under a wave of foreclosure notices.

In a sign that Sandy victims can’t keep up with their mortgage payments or are choosing to abandon their battered homes, foreclosure activity in New York City and Long Island surged 33% in the first nine months of the year, compared with the same period last year, according to a special report from RealtyTrac.

“People whose homes were damaged are making the decision to walk away because it doesn’t make financial sense to keep making those mortgage payments,” RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist told the Daily News.

The survey counted all types of foreclosure notices: default notices – which come early on when homeowners skip payments – scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions.

RELATED: LEADERS ISSUE WARNING ON SANDY ANNIVERSARY

Not surprisingly, the two boroughs that got hit the worst, Queens and Staten Island, saw the biggest foreclosure notice surge. Activity was up 61% in Queens and 40% in Staten Island.

The number of homes hit with foreclosure papers in the Bronx rose 39%. The increase in Brooklyn was 28%.

“When there is a financial crisis, one of the first bills that doesn’t get paid is the mortgage,” Emmett Laffey, CEO of Laffey Fine Homes International, a real estate brokerage in Greenvale, L.I., told The News.

Manhattan was the only borough surveyed by RealtyTrac where foreclosure activity was down post-Sandy. Foreclosure notices fell by 21%, even though lower Manhattan saw significant flooding.

RELATED: SCAMMERS BUSTED FOR STEALING SANDY AID: AUTHORITIES

A mailbox with a lighthouse design sits on the porch of a burned out home in Breezy Point.

Mark Lennihan/AP

A mailbox with a lighthouse design sits on the porch of a burned out home in Breezy Point.

That implies that Sandy victims in Manhattan were more financially stable and those who couldn’t make their payments were able to find buyers for their homes.

“Manhattan has the best buyer pool in the U.S.,” Laffey said.

But even though Sandy has put more people at risk of losing their homes, the rise in foreclosures hasn’t been enough to put a dent in an overall strong local real estate market.

In fact, the median price of a home in September was up 16% in Queens and up 12% in Brooklyn compared with September 2012.

RELATED: BUYER BEWARE: SUPERSTORM SANDY STILL POSES A THREAT TO USED CAR BUYERS

The increases were smaller in Staten Island, where property values rose by 3% and in Nassau County, where they were up 1%.

Foreclosed homes sold by banks are going fast.

“There is a line of buyers to buy those homes because they are priced under the market,” Laffey said. “They are selling within a matter of days.”

A separate StreetEasy report showed that Manhattan neighborhoods hit by Sandy bounced back far more quickly than other parts of the city slapped by the storm.

The volume of closings in two Manhattan flood zones jumped 64% in the quarter immediately following the storm, compared with the year-ago period.

In contrast, closings in Brooklyn were down 22% during that period. They dropped 30% in Queens.

pfurman@nydailynews.com

Article source: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/hurricane-sandy/foreclosures-surge-post-sandy-rises-rise-article-1.1500990

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