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The number of foreclosure petitions dropped by 48.7 percent for the month of February compared with February 2013, according to a new report from The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman.  This is the 16th consecutive month that petitions have decreased on a year-over-year basis in the Bay State. 

Petitions are the first step in the foreclosure process.  There were 439 petitions filed in February compared with 856 petitions filed in the same month of 2013. In January 2014, 364 petitions were filed.

“The year-over year decline in foreclosure starts is due to a robust real estate market, improving economic conditions,” said Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of The Warren Group.

FebChartForeclosuresMA2014Despite the decline in petitions, there were 280 foreclosure deeds filed statewide, a 16.2 percent increase from 241 deeds recorded in February 2013. Foreclosure deeds represent completed foreclosures. 280 foreclosure deeds were recorded in January 2014.

“The increase most likely reflects homes which have been in the foreclosure process for quite some time and have now been completed,” Warren said.  “The number of foreclosure deeds peaked at 1,391 in March 2010. The last time foreclosure deeds exceeded 500 was in September 2012. Clearly, the worst of the foreclosure crisis is now behind us.”

The Warren Group also tracked a drop in auction announcements in February. A total of 152 auction announcements were tracked in February, a 58 percent decrease from 365 compared to last February.