BOSTON, Feb. 5, 2015 РForeclosure petition activity in the Bay State fell month-over-month in December, posting a 12.7 percent decrease, according to The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman.

Lenders filed a total of 561 foreclosure petitions in December, compared with 643 a month ago in November 2014. This was the lowest number of petitions reported since June of that year. Petitions mark the first step in the foreclosure process.

Year-over year, December petition filings increased by 97.0 percent compared with the same month a year ago. A total of 7,588 foreclosure starts were filed in 2014, a 45.4 percent increase compared 5,220 petitions recorded during 2013.

Decmaforeclosure2014“Throughout the year, we’ve seen a lot of variation month-over-month, with ups and downs in the volume of all three stages in the foreclosure process. This is a reflection of the uneven work flow from prior delays and a backlog in foreclosure paperwork,” said Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of The Warren Group.

Foreclosure deeds posted a 6.4 percent decrease in December, with 322 completed foreclosures recorded compared with 344 in November 2014. This was the seventh time that deeds decreased month-over-month in 2014.

Year-over-year, foreclosure deeds increased by 38.2 percent in December compared with 233 deeds completed in the same month a year ago. This marked the fifth consecutive increase in deeds year-over-year. A total of 3,627 foreclosure deeds were recorded in 2014, down almost 2 percent from the 3,692 deeds recorded during the same period last year.

“Looking back to the years when we were truly in a foreclosure crisis, the increase in year-over-year data does not indicate to me that we are headed for a crisis, however it is something that we will be following closely as we head in 2015,” said Warren.

The number of auction announcements tracked by The Warren Group also decreased 9.3 percent month-over-month in December, with 504 auctions announced compared with 556 in November 2014. Year-over-year, auction announcements rose almost 15 percent from the 439 auctions filed in December 2013. 5,504 auctions were announced in 2014, a 9.3 percent decline from the 6,067 auctions recorded during the same period in 2013.