Mass. foreclosure deeds drop sharply in May
The number of foreclosures in Massachusetts dropped dramatically in May -- the second consecutive month that foreclosure deeds fell from the month before, according to data released today by real-estate tracker The Warren Group.
There were 582 foreclosure deeds recorded in May, a 58.6 percent decrease from 1,405 during the same month in 2008 and a 24.3 percent drop from April's level.
The total number of foreclosure deeds in 2009 also have fallen by 26.3 percent to 4,110 between January and May of this year compared to 5,576 during the same time last year, The Warren Group said.
Despite the good news, petitions -- the first step in a foreclosure process -- swelled to 2,329 in May, almost six times the 390 petitions filed the same month last year. Foreclosure petitions in May jumped 15. 7 percent from 2,103 in April. Yet the total number of foreclosure petitions for the year, from January to May, still dropped to 10,978 -- a 13.7 percent fall from 12,726 during the same time last year.
Timothy M. Warren, Jr. chief executive of the Warren Group, called the new data "encouraging." Foreclosure deeds in May were at the lowest level since April 2007, he said.
He attributed the steep increase in foreclosure petitions in May to the so-called "right-to-cure law" that went into effect last May. The number of petitions plummeted last year when lenders were required to give distressed borrowers 90 days to catch up on late mortgage payments.
"I think lenders have realized how costly foreclosures can be and are taking steps to avoid foreclosure whenever possible,'' Warren said. "But I remain concerned because unemployment has crept up and many people who've lost their jobs will have trouble keeping up with mortgage payments." (By Jenifer B. McKim, Globe staff)