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Large Number of Foreclosures in Erie County

New survey is out and legislators respond to the foreclosure problem here at home

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By Jennifer Stanonis

New home foreclosure numbers are out for Erie County showing hundreds of people have lost their homes over the last several months. From August 1st through October 23rd, 2007 there have been 609 auctions of homes in Erie County due to foreclosures, according to a survey done by New York State Senator Jeffrey Klein. This equals nearly seven families losing their homes each day. These are homes that have been foreclosed by banks due to late mortgage payments. "We're here to call attention to the large number of foreclosures in Erie County," Senator Jeffrey Klein said Thursday at a news conference and public hearing in Downtown Buffalo.

Buffalo tops the survey's foreclosure list with 274 homes auctioned off. Cheektowaga and Tonawanda come next at 54. The rest of the list: Hamburg and Amherst at 30, West Seneca at 19, Evans at 17, Kenmore at 16, Lackawanna at 14, and Lancaster at 12 homes auctioned off because of foreclosures since August. Of the foreclosures in Buffalo most of them happened in area code 14215 on the east side. Many of the county foreclosures were because of sub-prime loans, high interest loans, and predatory lenders.

These numbers could go up for our state. The Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project is predicting a 60% increase in filings over 2006 by the end of the year. Local agencies and legislators are trying to solve the current foreclosure problem and prevent it from happening again. They're introducing new bills in legislation that cover mandatory education for borrowers and regulation of mortgage brokers. For now the pressure is on for lenders to look over potential foreclosures and see if there's a way to help homeowners. The nation's largest mortgage lender, Countrywide Financial Corporation, has said it will discuss possible loan changes with borrowers. Countrywide is among the top 10 lenders in Erie County involved in home auctions due to foreclosures since August. HSBC topped the list with 60 foreclosure filings. The rest of the list: JP Morgan Chase with 47, Wells Fargo with 46, Citigroup 45, US Bank N.A. with 39, Wachovia and Countrywide with 36, M & T Mortgages 33, Deutshe Bank 28, and Midfirst Bank with 21 foreclosure filings. "We need these lending institutions, which now hold these mortgages that they're ready to foreclose upon, to take a look at them and see how they can reconfigure the mortgages to help people," Senator Klein said.
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