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Massachusetts Foreclosure Petitions Skyrocket in July

foreclosure-noticeAccording to a recently released report from The Warren Group, the number of foreclosure petitions in the state of Massachusetts shot up by 72.5 percent in July 2014 from the same month a year ago.

A foreclosure petition, often called a foreclosure start, is the first step in the foreclosure process. In July 2014, lenders filed 702 foreclosure petitions in the Bay State, up from 407 in July 2013, according to the report. Year-to-date (the period ending July 31, 2014), foreclosure filings have increased by 20.2 percent in Massachusetts from the same period of 2013 (3,966 in the first seven months of 2014 compared to 3,300 filed from January to July 2013), according to the Warren Group.

Cassidy Murphy, editorial director of The Warren Group, said that lenders were generally reluctant to file foreclosure petitions in 2013 due to the amount of uncertainty in the foreclosure industry, resulting in a low number of petitions filed for the year. With the uncertainty gone in 2014, the number of petitions filed is back up, she said.

"It is important to note that foreclosures are up year-over-year but down compared with the year-over-year increase posted in June 2014," Murphy said. "2013 was an unusual year in the foreclosure world as foreclosure procedures and legislation underwent revisions. Now that most of that has been settled, lenders are more comfortable moving forward with foreclosures from a legal standpoint."

July 2014 was the fifth consecutive month in which foreclosure petition filings increased year-over-year in Massachusetts, according to the Warren Group. But while foreclosure starts were way up in July, foreclosure completions, also known as foreclosure deeds, were way down in the Bay State. Foreclosure deeds fell off by 41 percent in July year-over-year (177 in July 2014 compared with 298 a year ago). Foreclosure deeds year-to-date as of July 31, 2014, declined by 17.3 percent from the first seven months of 2013 (1,552 in 2014 compared to 1,876 in 2013), the report said.

"Petitions are the leading edge. A petition doesn't necessarily result in a deed, so there are always more petitions than deeds at any given time," Murphy said. "Deeds are later in the process and they are the result of petitions that were filed months or even years earlier. There will be more deeds because of the way things fall, but not as many (as petitions)."

Foreclosure auction announcements increased by 5 percent from July 2013 to July 2014. A total of 552 auctions were announced in July 2014, compared to 526 for the same month last year, according to the Warren Group. The number of auction announcements recorded year-to-date, however, declined by 10.9 percent. For the first seven months of 2014, 2,758 auctions were announced, compared to 3,094 for January through July of 2013.

About Author: Brian Honea

Brian Honea's writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master's degree from Amberton University in Garland.

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