Foreclosure auctions rose 137 percent in Suffolk County and 165...

Foreclosure auctions rose 137 percent in Suffolk County and 165 percent in Nassau County between April and May 2013, according to RealtyTrac. Credit: Jim Peppler, 2011

The foreclosure backlog that has played a major role in slowing Long Island's statistical home price recovery showed the first signs of easing last month, according to a report released June 13 by RealtyTrac.

Scheduled foreclosure auctions, which signal that a distressed property has completed New York's extremely lengthy foreclosure process, more than doubled in both Nassau and Suffolk counties, RealtyTrac's Foreclosure Market Report showed.

Suffolk had 116 properties scheduled for auction in May, up 137 percent from April 2013, and 132 percent from May 2012. Nassau had 45 such properties up 165 percent month-over-month and 36 percent year-over-year.

“The pig is starting to move through the python in terms of rebounding foreclosure activity in New York,” Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, said in a statement.

“After 14 straight months of annual increases in foreclosure starts statewide, May provided early evidence that these foreclosure starts are now moving through the process and being scheduled for a public foreclosure auction."

Granted, the total increase is rather small relative to the number of distressed properties and delinquent loans on Long Island. And the increase is not yet significant enough to affect home prices. But it's still a positive sign for the housing market.

Meanwhile, in a positive sign for New York-area prospective home buyers, the tight inventory that has characterized the market for much of the past year also appears to be easing. A separate June 13 report published by found that although the total number of homes listed for sale is down 16.5 percent year-over-year in June, that's less of a drop than the 18.4 percent one recorded in January. That is, adjusted for seasonality, sales inventory has actually improved by 1.9 percentage points since the start of the year in the New York-metro area, Zillow said.

Nationally, inventory has improved by 5.3 percentage points. 

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