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BOSTON, June 2, 2015 – Foreclosure petitions in the Bay State increased year-over-year by 29.4 percent, posting the smallest increase in starts in over a year, according to a new report from The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman. Petitions mark the first step in the foreclosure process.

Lenders filed 958 petitions to foreclose in April compared with 740 filings during this time last year. This was the smallest percentage increase since February 2014 when petition filings were down 49 percent.  Year-to-date, petitions increased by 61 percent with 3,552 filings recorded compared with 2,203 during the same timeframe last year.

aprilchart“Petition activity recorded a less-dramatic increase in April, compared with the steep increases we’ve seen in the past several months,” said Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of The Warren Group. “Hopefully, the trend will continue, and we will see more and more lenders finally clearing away those longtime delinquent mortgages.”

Statewide, foreclosure deeds rose by 53.7 percent in April, with 352 deeds filed compared with 229 filings in April 2014. A total of 1,279 deeds were filed from January to April this year, an 8 percent increase from the 1,185 deeds filed in the same time period last year. Deeds represent completed foreclosures.

There were 399 auction announcements filed in April, a 3.2 percent decrease from the 412 announcements filed at the same time last year. Year-to-date, 2,044 auctions were announced, a 92 percent increase compared with the 1,063 announcements during the same timeframe last year.