Fewer Bay State properties were foreclosed on in February compared to the prior month and a year earlier, according to a report from The Warren Group. The number of foreclosures initiated by lenders, however, has climbed for four consecutive months.
A total of 823 foreclosure deeds were recorded in February – a 4.3% decline from 860 foreclosure deeds in February 2008. February foreclosure deeds were also 16% lower than in January, when there were 980 deeds recorded. Still, foreclosure deeds jumped 8.6% during the first two months of 2009 to 1,803 from 1,660 a year earlier.
"While it's positive that fewer homes were lost to foreclosure in February, the number of foreclosures initiated by lenders month-to-month has been steadily increasing since last November," says Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of The Warren Group. "In addition, the pace of foreclosures has remained fairly steady over the last six months, despite the fact that several large lending institutions have introduced temporary moratoriums on foreclosures in recent months."
Lenders filed 2,295 petitions to foreclose in February – a 17% jump from 1,960 petitions in January. But foreclosure petitions – the first step in the foreclosure process – fell 19.1% from the same month in 2008, when 2,838 petitions were filed. So far this year, 4,255 foreclosure petitions have been filed – a 29.7% decline from 6,050 foreclosure petitions during the same months in 2008.
Additionally, The Warren Group tracked 917 auction announcements in February, down 27% from 1,256 in February 2008 and 30.2% from 1,313 in January.
"February saw a pronounced slowdown in the number of auction announcements. This is the first time that auction announcements fell below 1,000 since November 2007," Warren adds.
SOURCE: The Warren Group