New York foreclosures up; Miami, LA market better

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York home foreclosures rose in August from July, signaling a potential drop in prices, but the Los Angeles and Miami markets showed a slight improvement, real estate research website said on Wednesday.

The number of newly scheduled auctions of foreclosed properties in New York grew 13 percent to 383 from July and 53 percent from last year, said in a report.

While New York’s numbers were relatively low, with 254 in the borough of Queens, they indicate future price declines of as much as 20 percent, Chief Executive Bill Staniford said.

Foreign investment in New York real estate will fall off as the European economy softens, and cuts to bonuses and staffing on Wall Street will also sap demand, he said.

“It’s not a crisis. New York is a desirable place to live. But transactions are down,” Staniford said. “We are going to see a decrease in housing values in New York City. We’re going to see that even in Manhattan.”

In Los Angeles County, the number of newly scheduled auctions of foreclosed properties fell by 18 percent to 4,907 from July. This was up 159 percent from August 2007 but the increase was far less than the 249 percent spike in July from a year ago, said.

The situation in Miami was similar, with August auctions rising 72 percent year over year compared with a 137 percent in July from a year ago. August auctions fell 10 percent from July.

The Los Angeles and Miami markets are in the process of bottoming out because property owners have finally lowered prices enough to attract buyers in the default period that precedes a foreclosure auction, Staniford said.

“If you’re able to lower the prices to the right level, investors will come in,” Staniford said.

In Los Angeles, prices had to fall by half before buyers would bite. Owners in zip code 93535, for example, paid on average $303,088 and sold for an average of $152,614.

Reporting by Helen Chernikoff, editing by Richard Chang