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A year after Hurricane Sandy, foreclosure activity in the first nine months of 2013 is up 33% compared to the first nine months of 2012, in seven counties of New York's five boroughs and Long Island combined, according to a report from RealtyTrac.

RealtyTrac reports that Queens County had the highest level of foreclosure activity through September 2013 - up 61% from the same time period last year. Default notices, in particular, were up 71%, while auction notices increased 24%, and bank-owned (REO) properties increased 26% from the previous year.

Foreclosure activity also increased in Richmond County (Staten Island) - up 40% during the first nine months of 2013, with REO properties rising 170% from the same period last year. Default notices were up 43% in the county, but scheduled auctions fell 15%, according to the data.

RealtyTrac’s data also shows that Nassau and Suffolk counties (Long Island) have seen overall increases in foreclosure activity so far this year - up 24% in Nassau County and up 28% in Suffolk County. REO properties rose substantially during the period for these counties - up 45% and 50%, respectively. The level of default notices also rose noticeably during the period, with 24% and 28% increases, respectively.

Activity levels were also up in Bronx County (39%) and Kings County (28%) through September. The data shows that the only county showing a significant decrease in foreclosure activity during the same time period was New York County (Manhattan), where foreclosures were down 21%, with the number of REO properties dropping 82% and scheduled auctions falling 53% - even though in Manhattan, Sandy did make landfall and caused significant flooding, according to RealtyTrac.

RealtyTrac also reports that median home prices rose in all seven counties year-over-year for September, despite the impact of the hurricane.

Median home prices rose by double digits in both Queens and Kings counties (up 16% and 12%, respectively) from September 2012, and the median price rose 7% in New York County from last year, according to the data.

The lowest rises in home prices were in three of the counties most affected by Hurricane Sandy: Suffolk County (up 5%), Richmond County (up 3%) and Nassau County (up 1%).

"The places that were hurt the worst by Sandy have seen an extraordinarily slow comeback," says Emmett Laffey, president of Laffey Fine Homes, which covers the five boroughs and Long Island. "The problem is getting the insurance money. The homes have been razed, and today they are just a sandlot. Some people have gotten insurance money; some people still can't get the money. It's a big mish-mash - nothing is uniform. Those areas that were hardest hit are still reeling.”


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