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RISMEDIA, April 23, 2010—Foreclosure activity in Massachusetts increased significantly during the month of March, according to the latest report by The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman. The number of foreclosures initiated by lenders jumped 22% from the prior month and 8% from a year earlier.

Lenders filed 2,581 petitions to foreclose in March, a 21.6% increase from 2,122 in February and 8.4% more than the 2,381 petitions filed in March 2009. A total of 6,577 petitions to foreclose have been filed in Massachusetts during the first quarter, a slight decrease from 6,636 in the first quarter of last year. Petitions to foreclose represent the first step in the foreclosure process in Massachusetts.

“The foreclosure petitions in March were the highest they’ve been in eight months. Despite some improvement in the overall economy, many Massachusetts homeowners are still struggling to keep up with their mortgage payments,” said The Warren Group CEO Timothy M. Warren Jr.

Foreclosure deeds, which represent finished foreclosures, also increased dramatically in March. Foreclosure deeds surged 51.4% to 1,389 in March from 917 in February and were also 45% higher than the 957 foreclosure deeds recorded in March 2009. Foreclosure deeds totaled 3,447 in the first quarter of 2010, a 24.6% increase from 2,766 in the first quarter of 2009.

“March had the most completed foreclosures for any month in more than a year. The last time foreclosure deeds reached this kind of level in Massachusetts was in May 2008,” said Warren. “Some of these are foreclosures that were started months ago, but are just now being completed. Even though there are foreclosure prevention programs in place, unfortunately not all homeowners are benefitting from them.”

The number of auction announcements tracked by The Warren Group surged in March compared to a year earlier. There were 2,903 auction announcements in March, more than double the 1,131 auction announcements in March 2009 and up 4.6% from 2,774 in February. The Warren Group tracked 8,062 auction announcements in the first quarter, a 139.8% jump from 3,362 a year earlier.

For more information, visit www.thewarrengroup.com.

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