Key Takeaways:

  • NYC logged 87 first-time foreclosures following the end of the moratorium
  • Citywide lis pendens filings were 13% higher compared to Q1 2020
  • Brooklyn claimed 40% of NYC foreclosures & highest concentration of foreclosures in one zip
  • Only 12 foreclosures recorded in Manhattan, along with 32 pre-foreclosures
  • Queens totaled 54% more lis pendens filing than during Q1 2020
  • With only nine unique cases in the first quarter, the Bronx had the second-lowest foreclosure activity of the five boroughs
  • Staten Island recorded only one foreclosure since Q2 2020 and none in Q1 2022

When COVID-19 swept through New York City in the spring of 2020 and the city at large shut down (along with the courts), foreclosures were among the many services and proceedings that were put on temporary hold. Then, as the pandemic dragged on and the economy floundered, the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Act of 2020 was signed into law, essentially putting a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions. The law was eventually extended until its final expiration on January 15, 2022.

Since then, foreclosures and lis pendens filings have slowly started to rise. As such, PropertyShark has, once again, been monitoring NYC’s foreclosure and pre-foreclosure market after a two-year, pandemic-fueled break.

Overall, in Q1 2022, only 87 first-time foreclosures were registered in the five boroughs — a historically low figure outside of the pandemic. However, residential lis pendens have taken off: A total of 1,023 were filed in the first quarter of this year, suggesting that the number of foreclosures will be rising in the coming months.

 

End of Foreclosure Moratorium Results in 87 First-Time Foreclosures in NYC

The 87 foreclosures that took place in the first quarter of this year in the entirety of NYC was a record low for any quarter, excluding the period during which the moratorium was active. In fact, there were only 81 foreclosures in all of 2021, whereas 2020 totaled 825, only 14 of which took place in the second half of the year.

As you might expect, the vast majority of 2020’s foreclosures (687, to be precise) took place in the first quarter of 2020, mostly before shutdowns went into effect. Compared to that, Q1 2022 recorded 87% fewer first-time foreclosures and 90% fewer than Q1 2019. Of the foreclosures recorded in the first quarter of this year, Brooklyn had the highest number (28) and Staten Island the lowest (0).  

However, in what may be a sign of things to come, lis pendens figures seem to be approaching pre-pandemic numbers: 1,023 were filed in Q1 2022 — 13% more than in Q1, but 56% fewer than Q1 2019. Of the five boroughs, Brooklyn recorded the highest number of pre-foreclosures (530), representing a 23% increase over Q1 2020. At the same time, the lowest number of lis pendens were filed in Manhattan. Its 32 pre-foreclosures represented a 29% decrease compared to the same period two years ago.

 

Notably, unlike foreclosures, lis pendens didn’t essentially disappear during the pandemic and foreclosure moratorium (although the number of filings did drop dramatically compared to previous years): In 2020, a total of 2,661 lis pendens were filed, while 2021 saw 3,571 pre-foreclosures — significantly fewer than the more than 9,000 that were filed in 2019.

Manhattan Foreclosure and Pre-Foreclosure Low in the First Post-Moratorium Quarter

The end of the foreclosure moratorium resulted in 12 first-time foreclosures in Manhattan — 68% fewer than in Q1 2020 and Q1 2019 and the least sharp decline among the five boroughs. Comparatively, only the Bronx had fewer unique foreclosures, registering only nine instances at the start of this year, while none were recorded in Staten Island. As for year-ago figures, there were no foreclosures in Manhattan during Q1 2021.

The few foreclosures that were logged in Manhattan were spread across the borough, with no zips recording more than one instance, with the exception of zip 10017. Covering areas such as Murray Hill, East Midtown and Stuyvesant Town, it recorded two foreclosures.

 

Manhattan pre-foreclosures were also slower to start, with 32 lis pendens filed in the first quarter of this year. That’s the lowest figure in the five boroughs, as well as 29% lower than Q1 2020 and 69% lower than Q1 2019. In fact, this was the slowest quarter for Manhattan pre-foreclosures since Q2 2020, which totaled 11 lis pendens filings.

Queens Features Second-Highest Foreclosure Total in Q1 2022

Meanwhile, Q1 2022 brought 31 foreclosures to Queens, representing the second-highest figure in the five boroughs after Brooklyn. However, Queens’ Q1 total was 89% lower than the 294 first-time foreclosures from Q1 2020 and 90% lower than the 315 recorded in Q1 2019. The decline in foreclosures observed in Queens was surpassed by only Staten Island, which had no foreclosures at the start of this year and thus boasted a 100% drop in cases.

The highest concentration of foreclosures in the borough — four, to be precise — was observed in zip 11434, covering neighborhoods such as Jamaica, South Jamaica, Hollis and St. Albans.

 

Similar to its foreclosure trends, Queens claimed the second-highest number of lis pendens filings of the five boroughs: Its 237 were surpassed by only the 530 filed in Brooklyn. Not only that, but the number of lis pendens filed in Queens at the start of this year represented a 54% increase over Q1 2020 figures. At the same time, the pre-foreclosures filed in Q1 2022 represented less than one-quarter of the lis pendens filed in Q1 2019.

Brooklyn Claims 40% of NYC Foreclosures, with Seven Clustered in Zip 11234

Brooklyn led the five boroughs in terms of foreclosures with 35 unique cases at the start of this year, representing less than one-quarter of the first-time foreclosures recorded in Q1 2020 and 84% fewer than Q1 2019. Additionally, Brooklyn also claimed the highest concentration of foreclosures in one zip code among the five boroughs. Specifically, seven of the 35 foreclosures in Brooklyn took place in zip 11234, which includes Canarsie, Flatlands, Marine Park, Mill Basin and Bergen Beach.

 

Paralleling the borough’s leading position with foreclosures, Brooklyn also claimed the highest number of pre-foreclosures with 530 lis pendens filed. That represented a 23% increase over Q1 2020 figures, but also less than 75% of the pre-foreclosure filings logged in Q1 2019. In fact, this was the most active quarter for Queens lis pendens filings since Q4 2019.

No Foreclosures for Staten Island & Only Nine in the Bronx

First-time foreclosures seemingly remained on pause in Staten Island during Q1 2022, as the borough didn’t record any at the start of the year. In fact, Staten Island has had only one residential foreclosure since Q2 2020.

Aside from Staten Island’s lack of foreclosures, the Bronx had the next-lowest number, recording a mere nine first-time foreclosures. Three of these were concentrated in zip 10468, which includes Knightsbridge Heights, Bedford Park, Fordham and University Heights. The Bronx’s nine foreclosures in the first quarter of this year also represented an 89% drop compared to the 85 first-time foreclosures from Q1 2020, as well as a 94% drop compared to Q1 2019’s 150 filings.

 

Along the same lines, the Bronx also had the second-lowest number of lis pendens filings in the city (74), outdone only by Manhattan’s 32. That meant that the Bronx had 40% fewer pre-foreclosures at the start of this year than in Q1 2020 and just over 25% of the 279 lis pendens filed in the first quarter of 2019. In fact, Q1 2022 was the highest month for pre-foreclosures in the Bronx in five quarters.

And, although Staten Island had only one first-time foreclosure since Q2 2020 and none in Q1 2022, it still managed to total more pre-foreclosures than both Manhattan and the Bronx: Staten Island’s 150 lis pendens filings remained unchanged compared to Q1 2020, but nonetheless came in 54% lower than the same period in 2019. However, year-over-year, Staten Island recorded a 50% increase in lis pendens filings.

 

Methodology

Having tracked foreclosure listings for more than a decade, PropertyShark is the only service in New York that guarantees 100% coverage of the local foreclosure market. Because auctions are frequently postponed and/or rescheduled, the statistics referenced in this report include only first-time foreclosures to avoid over-reporting the number of distressed properties in the city.

Separately, we also report on lis pendens (pre-foreclosure) filings — legal notices that mark the beginning of the foreclosure process.

This report focuses exclusively on residential properties (single- and two-family homes; condos; and co-op units) that were scheduled for auction for the first time in Q1 2022.

Pre-foreclosure data refers to unique properties that had at least one lis pendens filing in Q1 2022, which may be a first-time filing or a re-filing. The same building class restrictions apply, excluding co-ops. If more than three units were referenced on the same lis pendens filing, they were excluded in order to avoid accounting for entire buildings.

Eliza Theiss

Eliza Theiss

Eliza Theiss is a senior writer reporting real estate trends in the US. Her work has been cited by CBS News, Curbed, The Los Angeles Times, and Forbes among others. With an academic background in journalism, Eliza has been covering real estate since 2012. Before joining PropertyShark, Eliza was an associate editor at Multi-Housing News and Commercial Property Executive. Eliza writes for both PropertyShark and CommercialEdge. Reach her at [email protected]