BOSTON, June 30, 2011 – Massachusetts foreclosure activity dropped again year-over-year in May. Foreclosure deeds posted the lowest monthly number so far this year, according to the latest report from The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman.

Foreclosure deeds, which represent completed foreclosures, decreased almost 65 percent to 454 in May from 1,294 in May 2010. A total of 2,566 foreclosure deeds have been recorded in the first five months of the year, down 58 percent from 6,118 a year earlier.

Foreclosure petitions, which mark the first step in the foreclosure process in Massachusetts, dropped almost 67 percent year-over-year to 699 from 2,110 in May 2010. Through May of this year, 4,426 petitions to foreclose have been filed statewide, down 60 percent from 11,118 during the same period in 2010.

“Delayed foreclosures are masking the reality of the market,” said Vincent Valvo, group publisher and editor-in-chief of Banker & Tradesman. “Lenders are continuing to be cautious with the legal process, which is causing a drop off in foreclosure starts and deeds.”

Both deeds and petitions also dropped off from a month earlier. May marked the fewest number of deeds recorded in any month so far this year. This is the first month this year deeds dropped below 500.

The number of advertised auction notices also dropped in May. There were 1,832 auction announcements in May, down 36 percent from 2,860 a year ago. Year-to-date auction notices decreased 53 percent to 6,507 from 13,974 last year.