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RISMEDIA, June 17, 2010—Lenders initiated fewer foreclosures in Massachusetts in May 2010 than they did a year ago and in the prior month, according to a new report from The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman.

Foreclosures petitions, which mark the first step in the foreclosure process in the Bay State, fell 9.4% to 2,110 from 2,329 in May 2009 and were also down 13.2% from 2,431 in April. A total of 11,118 petitions to foreclose were filed statewide in the first five months of the year, a 1.3% increase from 10,978 during the same period in 2009.

But the number of completed foreclosures more than doubled in May compared to a year earlier. Foreclosure deeds, which are recorded when a property has been foreclosed on, surged 119.7% to 1,283 from 584 in May 2009. May foreclosures were down 6.7% from the prior month’s 1,375 foreclosure deeds. Year-to-date foreclosure deeds rose 48.4% to 6,107 from 4,114 a year earlier.

“A year ago, we were seeing the opposite trend in Massachusetts. Foreclosure petitions were increasing as unemployment grew, but foreclosure deeds were declining because a state law that went into effect in 2008 delayed foreclosure proceedings. We’re now seeing the foreclosures that were started a year earlier being completed now,” said Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of The Warren Group.

The number of advertised auction notices more than doubled to reach 2,858 in May compared to 1,378 during the same month last year and were flat compared to April. A total of 13,969 auction notices from January through May were tracked by The Warren Group, a 139.7% jump from 5,828 from the prior year.

For more information, visit www.thewarrengroup.com.

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