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

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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. Read More

Fewer Mass. homeowners ‘underwater’ on mortgages

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By Jenifer B. McKim | The Boston Globe | September 12, 2012

Nearly 232,000 Massachusetts homeowners were “underwater” at the end of the second quarter of this year, meaning they owed more to lenders than their properties were worth. That was down from 250,166 during the first three months of 2012, an indicator that the state’s housing market remains on track to make a slow recovery.

According to data released Wednesday by California-based CoreLogic, property values here continue to fare better than those in many areas of the United States. In Massachusetts, 15.6 percent of borrowers had mortgage balances that trump what they could recoup in a home sale — down from 16.8 percent in the first quarter of the year. Nationwide, 22.3 percent of homeowners were saddled with so-called negative equity, a decline from 23.7 percent after the first three months of 2012.

The drop in underwater borrowers benefits the housing market and overall economy by increasing consumer confidence and reducing the number of mortgage holders at risk of heading into foreclosure, according to many economists. They say borrowers who have home equity are more likely to spend money, fix up their properties, and eventually move on to other homes. Read More

Mixed Signs In Mass. Housing Market

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By Bob Oakes | WBUR | July 23, 2012
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There are mixed signs in the state’s housing market. Foreclosure petitions — the first step in the process — have dipped to their lowest level this year. But according to the Warren Group, more petitions were filed last month than in June 2011.

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors says its market index is up 103 percent from last year. While home prices are also higher than this time in 2011, they’ve dropped over the past two months, so it’s still a volatile market.

Housing expert Barry Bluestone monitors the housing market as the director for the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University. He joined Morning Edition Monday to talk about the market in greater Boston. Read More

Time to buy … if you can

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By Barry Bluestone | Boston.com | July 27, 2012

As a general rule, you will do much better taking advice from a used car salesman or, for that matter, a fortune teller than an economist. Economists, on the whole, are much better when it comes to arguing abstract theory about the past or the future than providing even the most mundane concrete advice about the present. My wife, with her training in psychology and survey research, has a much better track record than I when it comes to buying almost anything or investing in the stock market.

Yet at the risk of actually giving out some advice, for whatever it is worth, let me suggest that if you are going to be in the market to buy a home sometime in the near future and can afford to buy one now, there may be no better time to do so than this summer. There are a lot of reasons for listening this one time to a card-carrying economist. Read More

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