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Bay State foreclosure activity rose again in May, as banks continue to resume activity following a mortgage abuse settlement reached earlier this year, according to The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman.

The number of foreclosure petitions statewide more than doubled year-over-year – rising to 1,724 from 699 in May 2011.  Petitions have surpassed the 1,000 mark every month since July. So far this year, the lowest level was recorded in January (1,333) and the highest level in April (1,750). Through May of this year, 7,822 petitions to foreclose have been filed statewide, up 77 percent from 4,425 during the same period in 2011.Click to enlarge

The national, $25 billion settlement between the nation’s largest lenders and state’s attorneys general is expected to jump-start foreclosures that were previously suppressed while banks reviewed procedures for documenting foreclosures.

“Foreclosures are expected to rise throughout this year. We’re seeing banks acting more aggressively in resuming foreclosures that were put on hold in 2011,” said Cory S. Hopkins, editorial director of The Warren Group. “In order to return to a healthier market, we need these distressed properties to get cleared from banks’ books. The increased activity also leads to opportunity for buyers.”

Foreclosure deeds, which represent completed foreclosures, increased more than 32 percent to 755 in May from 571 in May 2011. A total of 3,736 foreclosure deeds have been recorded in the first five months of the year, up 31.3 percent from 2,846 a year earlier.

However, the number of advertised auction notices dropped in May. There were 1,397 auction announcements in May, down 27 percent from 1,908 a year ago. Year-to-date auction notices are up about 6 percent – rising to 6,974 from 6,583 last year.