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BOSTON, December 28, 2011 – The number of completed foreclosures in Massachusetts jumped more than 70 percent in November, indicating that lenders have improved their ability to process foreclosure paperwork after a slowdown over the past 12 months, according to The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman.

A total of 714 foreclosure deeds were recorded in November, a near 71 percent increase from 418 deeds in the same month last year. However, year-to-date foreclosure deeds are down. A total of 7,685 foreclosure deeds have been completed this year, down nearly 35 percent from 11,752 deeds recorded during the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the number of foreclosures initiated by lenders in Massachusetts dropped in November. Last month, lenders filed 1,015 petitions to foreclose – which mark the first step in the foreclosure process in Massachusetts – an 8 percent decline from 1,109 a year earlier.

“An increase in foreclosure deeds tells us that the backlog of foreclosures is moving through the process. The modest decline in petitions could indicate that an improving employment picture is leading to fewer mortgage delinquencies,” said Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of The Warren Group.

This is the second consecutive month that year-over-year foreclosure deeds have risen. Previously, deeds posted 12 straight months of declines – each month recording double-digit declines. The comparison with 2010 data may be skewed after the passage of a new law extending the right-to-cure period to 150 days.

November marks the fifth consecutive month that foreclosure petitions have stayed above 1,000. This is the fewest number of petitions filed since June, when there were 990 petitions filed. A total of 11,625 foreclosure petitions have been filed so far this year statewide, down almost 50 percent from 23,200 during the same period in 2010.

In November, the number of auction announcements tracked by The Warren Group fell to 1,270, a near 41 percent drop from 2,152 in November 2010. Year-to-date auction announcements are down more than 44 percent. So far this year, 15,720 auctions have been announced, down from 28,201 during the same period last year.