A new report issued by the Warren Group found the number of foreclosure petitions dropped by 48.7 percent in Massachusetts for the month of February. The monthly drop represented 18 consecutive months that petitions have decreased on a year-over-year basis in the Bay State.
Petitions for foreclosure are the first step in the foreclosure process, with 439 petitions filed in the state over the month. The previous month, 364 petitions were filed, and 856 petitions were filed in February, 2013.
"The year-over year decline in foreclosure starts is due to a robust real estate market and improving economic conditions," said Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of The Warren Group.
In spite of the decline in overall petitions, 280 foreclosure deeds were filed statewide, representing a 16.2 percent increase from 241 deeds recorded in February, 2013. In January, 2014, 280 foreclosure deeds were recorded.
Massachusetts is representative of a national trend of declining foreclosure activity.
"The increase most likely reflects homes which have been in the foreclosure process for quite some time and have now been completed," Warren said. "The number of foreclosure deeds peaked at 1,391 in March 2010. The last time foreclosure deeds exceeded 500 was in September 2012. Clearly, the worst of the foreclosure crisis is now behind us."
Auction announcements in February also declined in February by 58 percent, according to the Warren Group. A total of 152 auction announcements were tracked in February, compared to the 365 recorded the previous year.