Massachusetts foreclosure deeds increased nearly 80 percent in July from the same month in 2009, according to a new study by the Boston-based research firm the ""Warren Group"":http://www.thewarrengroup.com. However, foreclosure petitions, the first step in the foreclosure process in Massachusetts, decreased more than 20 percent.[IMAGE]
According to the report, the Bay State is on track to outpace foreclosure activity from the past two years. A total of 8,676 foreclosure deeds have been completed so far this year, up 60 percent from the same period last year. There were 12,430 and 9,269 foreclosure deeds in all of 2008 and 2009, respectively.
In July, the state recorded 1,243 foreclosure deeds, up from 692 in July 2009. However, this number is a decline from a month ago, when there were 1,315 completed foreclosures.[COLUMN_BREAK]
""We've been seeing a trend of declining foreclosure petitions and increasing foreclosure deeds,"" said Vincent M. Valvo, group publisher and editor-in-chief of the Warren Group's _Banker & Tradesman_ magazine. ""Homeowners are still under duress, and the market isn't getting any better. With sales down and unemployment up, we are likely to see increasing foreclosure activity for the next few months.""
While foreclosure petitions dropped to 2,307 in July from 2,899 in July 2009, this is the sixth straight month that foreclosure petitions have exceeded 2,000.
""The homebuyer tax credit could have helped troubled homeowners sell their property and avoid foreclosure,"" Valvo said. ""Although petitions to foreclose have fluctuated this year, the real issue is how many homes are lost to foreclosure. The number of deeds is consistently rising.""
In a related report, the Warren Group announced that sales of single-family homes in the state declined in July for the first time this year, a 26 percent decrease from July 2009.
This a disappointing drop since Massachusetts had seen 12 straight months of increases. A total of 3,668 single-family homes sold in July, the fewest number of sales in the month of July since 1990.
While condominium sales also dropped in July, decreasing 32 percent from a year earlier, year-to-date condo sales were up 16 percent.