Mass. foreclosures hit highest monthly level of 2011

Massachusetts foreclosures reached their highest monthly level so far this year, with 937 foreclosure deeds recorded in August, the Warren Group reported today.

But that total was more than 22 percent lower than the total in August 2010, said the Warren Group, a Boston firm that tracks real estate data and publishes Banker & Tradesman.

Last year, lenders nationwide slowed foreclosure proceedings following widespread concerns about sloppy and fraudulent legal practices. State and federal regulators began investigations into lenders’ practices, prompting negotiations with banks, some of which are ongoing. Many lenders then slowed the foreclosure process, some prompted by concerns over so-called robo-signers — bank employees who signed thousands of documents without reading them.

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“We’re seeing completed foreclosures hover around the 1,000 mark – a sign that lenders are beginning to work through the backlog and finalize the foreclosure process,’’ Banker & Tradesman managing editor Cory S. Hopkins said in a statement today. “Foreclosures have been delayed by robo-signing and other documentation problems. This could certainly mean a glut of foreclosed homes will be pushed through the pipeline in coming months and years.’’

According to the firm, 1,397 Massachusetts home owners received foreclosure petitions in August, the first step in the process of taking back a property. That was a drop of nearly 53 percent from August 2010.

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