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Regional Spotlight—Massachusetts foreclosure dropped dramatically in January, posting double digit decreases in both starts and completed foreclosures, according to the latest report from The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman.

The number of foreclosure petitions statewide dropped almost 30 percent – declining to 940 from 1,333 in January 2012. Petitions, which mark the first step in the foreclosure process in Massachusetts, have dropped for three consecutive months. Petitions rose in all but three months in 2012.

Foreclosure activity was slow throughout much of 2011 as banks worked through legal and documentation issues, causing levels to appear inflated in 2012. In two months in 2012, petitions doubled from the prior year.

“We’re finally seeing a clear picture of the trend in foreclosures – and it is good news,” says Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of The Warren Group. “The housing market has greatly improved – a sign that the economy is gaining ground and foreclosures will continue to subside.”

In January, there were 292 foreclosure deeds filed statewide, a 63 percent decrease from 799 deeds recorded in January 2012. Foreclosure deeds represent completed foreclosures.

The Warren Group also tracked a drop in auction announcements in January. A total of 314 auction announcements were tracked in January, an 80 percent decrease from 1,576 during the same month the previous year.

For more information, visit www.thewarrengroup.com.

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