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RISMEDIA, May 21, 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 an analysis by Banker & Tradesman.

Banker & Tradesman examined data provided by its parent company The Warren Group and 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 foreclosure process in the Bay State.

The newspaper looked at properties statewide where lenders initiated the foreclosure process last November. The time it took for those properties to get to the auction stage was about 138 days, according to Banker & Tradesman. 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.

Meanwhile, The Warren Group reported that lenders started more foreclosures in Massachusetts in April than they did a year earlier. Foreclosure petitions increased 20.8% to 2,431 in April from 2,013 during the same month last year. April foreclosure petitions, however, slipped 6% from March’s 2,581 petitions. Through April of this year, 9,008 petitions to foreclose have been filed statewide, up 4.2% from 8,649 during the same period in 2009.

“We’re still seeing a pretty high level of foreclosure petitions. 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, “ said Warren.

Foreclosure deeds, which represent completed foreclosures, surged almost 80% to 1,372 in April from 764 in April 2009, but dipped slightly from the 1,391 foreclosure deeds recorded in March 2010. A total of 4,821 foreclosure deeds have been recorded in the first four months of the year, up 36.6% from 3,530 a year earlier.

The number of advertised auction notices soared 154.8% to 2,772 in April from 1,088 a year ago. April auction notices were down 10.3% from 3,091 in March. Year-to-date auction notices shot up 147.7% to 11,022 from 4,450 last year.

For more information, visit www.thewarrengroup.com and www.bankerandtradesman.com.

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