Lenders filed 1,621 petitions to foreclose in March in Massachusetts, a 54.7 percent increase from 1,048 in March 2011, The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman, reported April 26, 2012.
A total of 4,348 petitions to foreclose have been filed in Massachusetts during the first quarter, a 71.5 percent increase from 2,535 in the first quarter of last year. Petitions to foreclose represent the first step in the foreclosure process in Massachusetts.
One of the reasons for the dramatic gains is that foreclosure activity was significantly slower in 2011. A national foreclosure suit against lenders coupled with a new law extending the right-to-cure period to 150 days caused for a major slowdown in foreclosure activity.
Banks now appear focused on clearing out inventory. Foreclosure activity may continue to rise throughout the year. It should be noted that depite the increases in activity, foreclosures are below the highs of a few years ago.
Foreclosure deeds, which represent finished foreclosures, also sharply increased in March. Foreclosure deeds rose 36.5 percent to 856 in March, up from 627 in March 2011. Foreclosure deeds totaled 2,254 in the first quarter of 2012, a 34.4 percent increase from 1,677 in the first quarter of 2011.
The number of auction announcements tracked by The Warren Group fell in March compared to a year earlier. There were 1,214 auction announcements in March, a 3 percent decrease from 1,254 announcements during the same month last year. In the first three months of the year, there were 4,174 auction announcements, up 26.7 percent from 3,293 during the same period in 2011.