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Petitions, Deeds Statewide Drop In December

BOSTON, January 28, 2013 – The number of completed foreclosures in Massachusetts dropped by almost 13 percent in 2012 to 7,424, down from 8,531 in 2011, according to the latest report from The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman.

The number of foreclosure petitions, however, rose more than 35 percent to 17,152 last year from 12,634 in 2011. Throughout much of 2011, petition levels were dramatically decreased as lenders slowed foreclosure processes.

“Foreclosure activity nationwide is declining, and Massachusetts is following the same path. Deeds were down for the year, petitions declined for the past two months and I think that will continue,” said Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of The Warren Group.

In December, there were 265 foreclosure deeds, a 65 percent decrease from 758 deeds recorded in December 2011. Foreclosure deeds represent completed foreclosures. Foreclosure deeds reached its highest point in March, posting 899 completed foreclosures.

Petitions deeds dropped dramatically in the fourth quarter. Foreclosure deeds decreased to 931 in the fourth quarter, a 56 percent dip from 2,266 deeds in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Foreclosure petitions – the first step in the foreclosure process in Massachusetts – dropped 17 percent in December. A total of 835 starts were recorded, down from 1,009 in December 2011. This is the fewest number of foreclosure petitions recorded since May 2011, when there were 699 petitions. November and December were the only months in 2012 when there were fewer than 1,000 petitions in a month.

A total of 3,276 foreclosure petitions were recorded in the fourth quarter of 2012, a 1.8 percent increase from the 3,2,17 petitions during the same period in 2011. This is the fifth consecutive month of quarterly petition increases.

In 2012, 3.4 percent of single-family home sales statewide were bank-owned properties, down from 3.8 percent in 2011. Bank-owned property sales of condominiums accounted for 2.6 percent of all condo sales statewide in 2012. That’s down from 2011, when bank-owned condo sales represented 3.5 percent of all condo sales.

Warren added: “Foreclosures have been trending down for several years now. A robust real estate market will ensure that this trend continues in 2013.”

The Warren Group also tracked a large decrease in auction announcements in 2012. A total of 12,851 auction announcements were tracked in 2012, a 24 percent drop from 16,941 in 2011. Auction announcements in December totaled 172, an 84 percent decrease from 1,135 during the same month in 2011.