BOSTON (STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE) – The number of foreclosure petitions in Massachusetts increased 13.1 percent in June, marking 28 straight months of year-over-year increases in foreclosure starts, and that trend is expected to prevail through the end of the year, The Warren Group reported Tuesday.
Lenders filed 1,002 petitions to foreclose in June, up from the 886 petitions filed in June of last year. A petition is the first step in the foreclosure process and involves the lender filing a notice of intent to foreclose with the state’s Land Court.
“Foreclosure starts continued to climb in the first two quarters of 2016, but the rate of increase has slowed,” Timothy Warren Jr., CEO of The Warren Group, said in a statement. “Lenders continue to work through a backlog of delinquent mortgages and get foreclosure proceedings started on the most difficult cases. The higher volume of starts that we have been seeing over the past two years is likely to continue for the balance of the year.”
Through June this year there were 6,616 petitions filed in Massachusetts — a 24.4 percent increase from last year’s 5,316 mark.
June also marked the fifth straight month with more than 1,000 foreclosure starts, a streak that hasn’t happened since 2012, according to The Warren Group.
“It’s just a factor of lenders processing their delinquent mortgages,” Warren said in a podcast released with the group’s report Tuesday. “1,000 in a month is a lot but in 2007 and 2008 we were seeing over 3,000 in a month. Eventually we will hit the high water mark and the number will recede.”
June also saw 470 completed foreclosures, a 15.8 percent increase from the 406 foreclosure deeds filed in June 2015. In total through June, there have been 2,872 completed foreclosures in Massachusetts in 2016, up 41.5 percent from the 2,030 at the same point last year.
Of counties that had at least 10 completed foreclosures in June, Worcester County saw the greatest increase in June — up 48.5 percent from 83 to 121 foreclosures. Essex County saw the greatest percentage decrease in completed foreclosures — down 20.8 percent from 48 to 38 in June. Year to date, Barnstable County has seen a 35.5 percent reduction in the number of completed foreclosures while Hampshire County has experienced a 103.1 percent increase in completed foreclosures.
June 2016 also saw 887 auction notices filed, a 67.4 percent increase from the 530 filed in June 2015 and the highest number of auction notices in 44 months, The Warren Group reported. There were 4,648 auctions in Massachusetts through June, up 45.8 percent over the same time period last year.
“The number of auctions scheduled is really dependent on the number of starts in recent months,” Warren said on the podcast. “The past few months have seen auctions increase by 50 percent or more because in 2015 we saw foreclosure starts increase 50 percent or more. So it’s just a cause and effect relationship.”