Bay State foreclosures fall to their lowest level so far in 2012

By Thomas Grillo | Boston Business Journal | September 17, 2012

The number of Massachusetts homes facing foreclosure dropped by double digits in July, the lowest monthly level recorded so far this year, according to market tracker The Warren Group.

A total of 1,198 foreclosures were initiated in Massachusetts last month, down from 1,441 petitions in July 2011, a nearly 17 percent decline.

Foreclosure deeds, the final step in the process, also dropped in July to 648, a 17 percent decrease from 782 in July 2011. This also marks the fewest number of completed foreclosures for any month this year. It is the slowest month since May 2011 when there were 571 foreclosure deeds.

“The good news is that as the economy slowly comes back and as housing prices stabilize, fewer people are sinking below water,” said Barry Bluestone, director for the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University.

Still, many Massachusetts homeowners are still hurting. A total of 10,623 foreclosure petitions, the first step lenders take to seize a home, have been initiated so far this year, up from 6,856 petitions filed during the same period last year, a whopping 55 percent hike. A total of 5,409 foreclosure deeds, the last step in seizing a home, have been filed so far this year, an 18.5 percent increase compared to 4,564 deeds recorded during the same period last year.

But Bluestone said he’s not worried about the large year-over-year ago increases because the 2011 numbers were artificially low as lenders paused to fix potential errors on foreclosure documents and legislative efforts to encourage mortgage work outs.

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