Lenders Moving Faster to Auction Foreclosed Homes in Massachusetts

Wed, May 19, 2010


The time it’s taking for a property to move from the first stage of the foreclosure process to auction has shrunk in Massachusetts, according to a new study released Tuesday by the Warren Group.

The Boston-based research firm found that it is taking an average of about 4.6 months from when a lender files a petition to foreclose to when a public auction is scheduled. Petitions to foreclose, filed in Massachusetts Land Court, are the first step in the state’s foreclosure process.

The study looked at properties statewide on which lenders initiated foreclosure last November. The time it took for those properties to get to the auction stage was about 138 days. By comparison, properties where foreclosures were initiated in the early part of 2008 were taking an average of almost eight months – or 234 days – to go to auction.
“We believe that the faster track to auction stage in foreclosures is due to processing improvements that lenders have made as they become more familiar with compliance on government programs and regulations regarding foreclosures,” said Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of the Warren Group.

The Warren Group reported that lenders started more foreclosures in Massachusetts in April than they did a year earlier. Foreclosure petitions increased 20.8 percent to 2,431 last month, compared to 2,013 in April of last year.

April foreclosure petitions, however, slipped 6 percent from March’s 2,581 petitions. So far this year, lenders have started foreclosures on 9,008 homes in Massachusetts.

“We’re still seeing a pretty high level of foreclosure petitions,” Warren said. “The only good news is that April’s numbers weren’t as high as the early part of 2008 – when an average of more than 3,000 petitions to foreclose per month were being filed statewide.”

Foreclosure deeds, which represent completed foreclosures, surged almost 80 percent in April compared to a year earlier. A total of 4,821 foreclosure deeds have been recorded in the Bay State during the first four months of this year.

The number of advertised auction notices in April was up 155 percent from 12 months earlier. Year-to-date auction notices total 11,022.

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