Massachusetts Foreclosure Slowdown Carries On

In a good real estate market, one with rising prices and willing buyers, foreclosures should nearly be nonexistent. According to data from The Warren Group, it appears that Massachusetts is starting to get to this point.

In August, lenders completed 261 foreclosures in the Bay State, which is a 54% drop from a year ago. This is the 15th straight month foreclosure deeds decreased on an annual basis.

So far in 2013, a total of 2,135 foreclosure deeds have been filed, 64% fewer than the same time period last year when there were 5,979 deeds recorded.

Additionally, year-over-year petitions also decreased significantly during the month, falling more than 76% to 436 from 1,833 in August 2012. The latest monthly figures are well below the peak experienced in April 2008 when there were 3,328 petitions to foreclose filed.

Foreclosure petitions have dropped for the last 10 months in a row and have been below the 1,000 mark since November, the Boston-based data firm said. Warren is projecting that around 5,000 petitions will be filed by the end of the year. Comparatively, there were almost 30,000 petitions initiated in 2007.

“The local housing market has made great strides so far this year. The decline in foreclosure activity coincides with significant increases in sales volume and home prices,” said Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of The Warren Group. “Other factors include an improved economy, loan modifications and other alternatives to foreclosure.”

Warren said the steadily improving real estate market is boosting Massachusetts home values. He added that homes in all communities are now worth more than they were two years ago, a benefit for all parties involved in the home buying process.

“The sellers, buyers, and lenders have more confidence and more hope,” Warren said in a podcast regarding the Massachusetts real estate market. “People will still get into trouble with their mortgage payments, but the logical next step will be to sell the home. If the mortgage had proper underwriting, a good appraisal, and a reasonable downpayment, the home could be sold and the borrower could be paid in full.”