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First Single-Digit Increase in 24 Months

BOSTON, May 3, 2016 – Foreclosure petitions in the Bay State rose again in March, increasing 6.4 percent compared with March 2015, according to a new report from The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman. For the past 24 months, starts rose by double- or triple-digit increases; March marks the first time in two years starts rose by a single-digit percentage.

Lenders filed 1,179 petitions to foreclose in March this year, compared with 1,108 filed in March of last year. There have been 3,367 petitions filed year to date in Massachusetts, a 29.8 percent increase from last year’s mark through March of 2,594. Petitions note the first step in the foreclosure process, when lenders file notice of their intention to foreclose with the Commonwealth’s Land Court.

“After two years of double- and sometimes triple-digit percentage increases in the number of petitions to foreclose, this month’s mere 6 percent increase is a sign that the number is starting to level off,” said Timothy Warren Jr., CEO of The Warren Group. “The foreclosures that began as petitions two years to 18 months ago have begun to appear at the end of the pipeline, and the number of deeds filed is up 72.7 percent in March. But at 620 deeds filed, we’re still a long way off from the crisis years. Foreclosure deeds peaked at 1,391 March 2010.

There were 745 auction notices filed in March, a 55.8 percent increase from the 478 filed in March 2015. There have been 2,134 auctions in Massachusetts year to date, a 29.7 percent increase from the same stretch in 2015 when there were 1,645. An auction notice is an advertisement that the lender has scheduled an auction and announcing the time, date and address in legal notices in local newspapers.

There were 620 foreclosure deeds filed in March, a 72.7 percent increase from the 359 deeds filed in March 2015. There have been a total of 1,487 deeds recorded in Massachusetts in 2016, a 60.41 percent increase from the 927 filed through March 2015. These deeds represent completed foreclosures, when lenders record a new deed at the Registry of Deeds indicating there has been a change in the ownership of the foreclosed property.

The most up-to-date petition filings, auctions and completed foreclosures are available weekly in Banker & Tradesman.

The Warren Group has compiled and tracked real estate transactions since 1872. The fourth-generation family-owned company uses its long-time leadership in the Boston real estate and banking information to produce specialized reports and news publications, including Banker & Tradesman and The Commercial Record.

With more than 140 years as a local business leader, The Warren Group has developed relationships with a variety of industry leaders and trade groups, including bankers, mortgage brokers, credit unions and lawyers. Working together with our partners, The Warren Group organizes trade shows and industry events.  For more information about The Warren Group, visit


To see a county-by-county breakdown of foreclosures, click here. For town-by-town statistics, click here.