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New York Post: Mortgage Crisis Pickets Hit Midtown

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New York Post

Manhattan’s residential real-estate scene is roaring back — but don’t look across the river.

The shadow of the foreclosure crisis is fading fast in tony enclaves like the Upper East Side, where home prices spiked 36 percent in the first quarter. Manhattan sales prices just logged the biggest single-year gain since 2008, vaulting 17 percent in the first quarter from the year-ago period, according to data tracker StreetEasy.

The five big banks — Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Ally/GMAC and Citi — that settled with the federal government and 49 state attorneys general in 2012 over allegations of foreclosure abuses have seemingly put these woes behind them, too. Most are racking up strong profits.

In traditionally minority neighborhoods in the outer boroughs, however, it’s a very different story.

In 2012, home-foreclosure auctions citywide were heavily concentrated in neighborhoods — such as Cambria Heights, Queens; and Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn — with populations that are more than 80 percent nonwhite, according to research by the New Economy Project.

Attorneys for Common Law — which trains homeowners to represent themselves in foreclosure court — have singled out Wells Fargo for its treatment of minority borrowers in New York. Common Law, staged a “foreclosure resisters” vigil in front of Wells Fargo’s Manhattan headquarters at 150 E. 42nd St. on Thursday night. Donning blue “foreclosure resisters” T-shirts, roughly thirty homeowners lent human voices to the city’s lingering foreclosure crisis.

Queens Village resident Monica Gomez, whose sons are actively serving in the US military, said she has provided all the documents Wells Fargo requested for a modification application, to no avail.

Four generations of her family call the house home. But after years of delay on a modification, she now owes nearly double what the house is worth.

Wells Fargo told The Post it has provided modifications to nearly 27,000 borrowers in New York since early 2009.