March foreclosure deeds down over '08

By Jenifer McKim
Globe Staff / May 8, 2009
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The number of foreclosure deeds filed in Massachusetts in March fell 18 percent from the same month in 2008, according to Warren Group, which tracks real estate data.

But it's not time to announce a recovery: The number of deeds, 953, actually increased 15.4 percent from February. And lenders initiated more foreclosures in March, compared with February, but less than in the same month a year earlier.

Timothy M. Warren Jr., Warren Group's chief executive, said the decline in foreclosure deeds may be because of a flurry of activity in early 2008, before a state law requiring 90 days' notice of such proceedings.

A sign foreclosures could increase, Warren said, is that many lending institutions announced foreclosure moratoriums in late 2008 and early this year, which stalled activity.

"Many banks and mortgage companies have lifted their moratoriums and are now stepping up foreclosures," he said.