The number of Massachusetts foreclosures started in May more than doubled from the same month a year ago, and the number of Bay State foreclosures last month rose more than 32 percent, the Warren Group said Thursday.

The increase in activity was a result of banks resuming foreclosure activity following a mortgage abuse settlement reached earlier this year, said the Warren Group, a Boston firm that tracks real estate data.

In Massachusetts last month, the number of started foreclosure petitions, the first step in the seizure process, was 1,724, versus 699 in May 2011.

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As for completed foreclosures, there were 755 of those in May 2012, compared with 571 in May 2011.

In a statement, Warren Group editorial director Cory S. Hopkins said: “Foreclosures are expected to rise throughout this year. We’re seeing banks acting more aggressively in resuming foreclosures that were put on hold in 2011. In order to return to a healthier market, we need these distressed properties to get cleared from banks’ books. The increased activity also leads to opportunity for buyers.”