Foreclosure Activity Climbs in Melrose, Statewide in March

Melrose saw year-over-year increases in foreclosure starts and completed foreclosures in March.

Melrose foreclosure activity in March surpassed its numbers from one year ago as those numbers continued to climb during the first quarter of the year, matching a statewide increase in activity according to the latest figures from The Warren Group.

Six foreclosure petitions, the first step in the foreclosure process, were filed against Melrose properties in March, compared to two filed in March 2011. Statewide, lenders filed 1,621 petitions to foreclose in March, a 54.7 percent increase from 1,048 in March 2011.

During the first three months of the year, 12 petitions to foreclose have been filed in Melrose, a 140 percent increase over the five filed in the first quarter of last year. Statewide, a total of 4,348 petitions to foreclose have been filed in Massachusetts during the first quarter, a 71.5 percent increase from 2,535 in the first quarter of last year.

In a press release, The Warren Group noted that one of the reasons for the significant increases so far this year is because foreclosure activity was significantly slower last year, as a national lawsuit against lenders coupled with a new law extending the right-to-cure period to 150 days caused a major slowdown in foreclosure activity.

"Banks are stepping up foreclosures all over the country, and Massachusetts is no exception," The Warren Group CEO Timothy M. Warren Jr. said in the press release. "Since the suit by state attorneys general over foreclosure abuses has been settled, a cloud has lifted and we may see numbers continue to rise."

Completed Foreclosures Up, Auction Announcements Down

Foreclosure deeds, which represent completed foreclosures, also continued to climb in March, when there were three filed against Melrose properties. None were filed in Melrose in March of last year. Statewide, foreclosure deeds rose 36.5 percent to 856 in March, up from 627 in March 2011.

Year-to-date, there have been six completed foreclosures in Melrose, compared to one during the first quarter of last year. Statewide foreclosure deeds so far this year totaled 2,254, a 34.4 percent increase from 1,677 in the first quarter of 2011.

Warren Jr. noted in the press release that despite the increase, foreclosure activity so far this year is "well below" the peak levels from 2007-2010.

"For example, March's elevated number of petitions to foreclose is still 37 percent below the number we saw in March 2010," he said in the release.

One aspect of foreclosures that has seen a decrease so far this year are foreclosure auction announcements. In March there were two auction announcements in Melrose, compared to eight in March 2011. Statewide, there were 1,214 auction announcements in March, a 3 percent decrease from 1,254 announcements during the same month last year.

Year-to-date, there have been nine auction announcements in Melrose, compared to 12 in the first quarter last year, and statewide there there were 4,174 auction announcements, up 26.7 percent from 3,293 during the same period in 2011.

Information from a Warren Group press release was used in this report.


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