Massachusetts foreclosure starts and completed foreclosures increased in February compared to the previous year, according to data compiled by The Warren Group, a publisher of real estate information.
Foreclosure petitions increased 45.6 percent to 1,264 in February compared to 868 in February 2015. Foreclosure petitions are the first step in the Massachusetts foreclosure process, and the number of petitions filed has increased on a year-over-year basis for 24 straight months. February's 1,264 petitions is the highest number filed in February since 2012; however, not all petitions filed in the Land Court result in a completed foreclosure. Through February of 2016 there have been 2,188 petitions filed, a 47.2 percent increased compared with the first two months of 2015.
“While there’s no doubt some new delinquencies are occurring, the majority of what we’re seeing as ‘new’ foreclosures are loans that have been delinquent for quite some time,” Timothy Warren Jr., CEO of The Warren Group, said. “Lenders continue to work through what remains of their backlog from several years ago, when the entire industry ground to a halt to await the outcome of legislative and regulatory changes and updates.”
Massachusetts lenders recorded 519 foreclosure deeds in February, a 66.9 percent increase from the 311 deeds recorded the previous February. There have been a total of 867 foreclosure deeds recorded during the first two months of 2016, a 52.6 percent increase from the 568 recorded during the same period last year. Foreclosure deeds represent completed foreclosures. Upon a completed foreclosure, lenders record a new deed at the Registry of Deeds, indicating a change in the ownership of the foreclosed property.
The Warren Group also tracks auction notices, which are an alert to the Land Court that the lender has scheduled an auction and publicly announced the time, date and address in legal notices in local newspapers. There were 644 auction notices placed in February, an 8.8 percent increase from the 592 notices in February 2015.