When it comes to mortgage foreclosures in Westchester, we ain’t seen nuthin’ yet. Check out the legal ads in The Journal News and it’s not hard to see that foreclosure notices dominate.
It will only get worse before it gets better. According to the state Comptroller’s Office, subprime mortgages accounted for 7.5 percent of the county’s total in 2004, By 2006, the shaky subprimes were at 19 percent. Those homeowners are in the biggest trouble.
Indeed, over the last years, 2,431 foreclosure filings and judgments were filed in Westchester last year…an increase of 58.7 percent. Unemployment is at 5.3 percent, the highest in 15 years.
Next year is an election year, and County Executive Andy Spano finally may be catching on to the fact that his political future rests on how well he responds to the economic mess. So far, his notion of trimming the fat-laden county budget by a mere $100,000 and change has not been well received, nor has his attempt to push through nearly $900,000 in raises for nonunion county workers, many of them department heads and directors.
But to show he’s concerned about Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner, Spano has assumed the role of George Bailey. He’s written a letter to 23 banks, a kind of collective “Old Man Potter,” asking them to voluntarily place a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures. In his letter, he requests that they work out ways to renegotiate the loans with delinquent homeowners.
The word “voluntary” is key. But some banks are already doing this…so Spano’s impact may be negligible. Anyway, the announcment of his effort was made today.