The marathon COVID-19 pandemic has pushed NYC homeowners to overwhelming mortgage distress — some to the brink of foreclosure — but perhaps no borough is disproportionately affected by virus-fueled mortgage distress more than the Bronx.
In 17 out of the Bronx’s 25 ZIP codes, mortgage delinquency of 30 days or more is above 4%, according to a housing analysis compiled by the Center for NYC Neighborhoods. And for some areas like Mott Haven and Hunts Point, delinquency has boomed to 13%.
More than 10% of homeowner households in the borough were more than 20 days delinquent on their mortgages.
According to the Center for NYC Neighborhoods, rates of mortgage distress also were distributed along with historical patterns, with some of the hardest-hit neighborhoods having been at the center of the 2008 foreclosure crisis and predatory lending.
Additionally, the city’s majority Black neighborhoods were most at risk for foreclosures, with these ZIP codes having an average of 8.48% of homeowners who had failed to make their mortgage payments for more than 30 days.
Much like the 2008 foreclosure crisis, market research suggests that the post-pandemic effect on homeowners is poised to be felt most strongly among communities of color, potentially fueling the already widening racial wealth gap.
Factors such as flood proneness or disadvantages with the city’s annual tax lien sale — which expired last month at the request of housing reform groups — have led to high levels of mortgage distress.
According to an analysis prepared by the New Economy Project, the city’s Tax Lien Sale List in 2021 included nearly 3 million square feet of vacant residential land across the five boroughs — on which more than 3,600 units of affordable housing could be built, if the debt for that land was not sold to investors and summarily resold or foreclosed upon.
Following its expiration last month, legislation authorizing the sale of those liens, which dates back to the administration of then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani — stipulates that the sale will not happen again unless the City Council and mayor explicitly authorize new legislation.
Homeowners in City Council District 12 (Wakefield) and 18 (Parkchester) had some of the highest number of properties on the city’s Tax Lien Sale List.
Gov. Kathy Hochul has made incentivizing and retaining homeownership in the state a priority in her $216.3 billion budget, outlining more than $400 million in funding for homeownership initiatives.
In their one-house budgets, the Senate and Assembly have allocations for foreclosure prevention services, acquisition funding for permanently affordable homeownership units, and home repair funding.
Reach Robbie Sequeira at email@example.com or (718) 260-4599. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes.