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Increase Follows Six Monthly Declines

BOSTON, May 1, 2017 –
Lenders filed 1,247 petitions to foreclose on properties in Massachusetts in March, a 5.8 percent increase compared with the 1,179 filed in March 2016, according to a new report from The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman.

The March 2017 petition total is the first year-over-year increase any month since September 2016. Petitions are the first entry in the public record in the foreclosure process, when lenders file a notice of intention to foreclose with the Land Court.

Year to date, the state has seen 2,934 total petitions filed, down 12.9 percent from the 3,367 filed over the first three months of 2016.

“Though we’ve seen a steady decline in foreclosure starts for six months as backlogs of legal work were cleared out, petitions have inched up in March,” said Timothy Warren, CEO of The Warren Group. “I’m pretty confident that we will see a return to declining foreclosure starts in the months ahead. If so, the increase in March will be a random blip on the radar screen.”

Statewide there were 648 foreclosure auctions scheduled in March, a decrease of 13.1 percent increase from March 2016, when there were 746 auctions scheduled. An auction is scheduled through legal advertising in local newspapers with the lender giving the time, date and address for the auction to take place.

Year to date, the state had 1,987 total auctions, down 6.9 percent from the 2,135 over the same period in 2016.

There were 625 foreclosure deeds recorded in March, a 0.6 percent increase from the 621 recorded in March 2016. Deeds increased 30.5 percent from February of this year. These deeds represent completed foreclosures, when lenders put the change in ownership of the foreclosed property in the public record at registries of deeds.

Year to date, the state filed 1,607 total deeds, up 8 percent from the 1,488 filed over the same period in 2016.