Local foreclosure activity dropped in December, the Warren Group reports

There were 265 foreclosure deeds recorded in Massachusetts during December, a 65 percent decrease from the number recorded in the same month a year ago, the Warren Group said Monday.

Foreclosure deeds represent completed foreclosures. The first step in the foreclosure process is a foreclosure petition.

In December, 835 foreclosure petitions were started in Massachusetts, down 17 percent on a year-to-year basis, said the Warren Group, a Boston firm that tracks real estate activity.

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For all of 2012, the number of completed foreclosures in Massachusetts dropped by nearly 13 percent to 7,424, the Warren Group said in a press release.

Timothy M. Warren Jr. Photo taken from the Warren Group’s website.

But the number of foreclosure petitions started in the Bay State increased by more than 35 percent to 17,152. In 2011, there was a big drop in petitions as lenders slowed the process as their procedures came under scrutiny.

“Foreclosure activity nationwide is declining, and Massachusetts is following the same path,” Warren Group chief executive Timothy M. Warren Jr. said in a statement. “Deeds were down for the year, petitions declined for the past two months, and I think that will continue.”

Timothy Warren added: “Foreclosures have been trending down for several years now. A robust real estate market will ensure that this trend continues in 2013.”