Many locals are falling behind on mortgages
Massachusetts foreclosure petitions in June jumped to 2,835 - more than eight times higher than the 350 petitions in June 2008 and 21.7 percent higher than the 2,329 filings in May, said the Warren Group, which added that the number of petitions to foreclose in June was the highest it’s been in the previous 13 months.
Petitions to foreclose are the first step in the foreclosure process, noted the Warren Group, a Boston firm that tracks real estate data and publishes Banker & Tradesman.
Foreclosure deeds are the final step in the foreclosure process, and in June, Massachusetts foreclosure deeds "plunged 45.1 percent to 621 from 1,131 in June 2008 but climbed 6.7 percent from 582 in May," the Warren Group said.
“June’s foreclosure petitions were close to the historical highs we saw in the early part of 2008,” Warren Group chief executive Timothy M. Warren Jr. said in a statement. “We saw a big drop-off in foreclosure petitions in the middle of last year after the state passed a law requiring lenders intending to start foreclosure proceedings to give defaulting borrowers 90 days to catch up with missed payments. But in subsequent months, petitions to foreclose mounted.”
The Warren Group also examined foreclosure activity in Massachusetts for the first half of 2009.
Foreclosures in Massachusetts fell 29 percent during the first half of 2009 compared to a year earlier, the firm said, but petitions to foreclose rose 5.6 percent during the first six months of 2009 from the same period last year.
"There were 4,737 foreclosure deeds from January through June, a 29.4 percent drop from 6,707 during the same months in 2008," the Warren Group said.
“Even though the number of foreclosure deeds has declined from a year ago, they crept up from the prior month, and we’re seeing more people in the initial stage of foreclosure. That’s troubling,” Timothy Warren said in his statement. “There are many incentives for lenders to complete loan modifications to help homeowners who can’t afford their current mortgage payments. But researchers have questioned whether these loan modifications are really sufficient to help homeowners.”
Warren added, “One area that remains a serious concern is unemployment. Many homeowners who lose their jobs won’t be able to make mortgage payments and pay off other bills even with a loan modification.”
The press release added, "While foreclosure deeds have declined year-over-year, the number of petitions to foreclose has increased. Lenders filed 13,813 petitions to foreclose during the first six months of 2009, up 5.6 percent from 13,076 last year."