Local foreclosure activity ‘dropped dramatically’ in January, the Warren Group says

Foreclosure activity in Massachusetts “dropped dramatically” in January because of an improving local housing market, the Warren Group said Tuesday.

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

There were 940 foreclosure petitions started in January, down nearly 30 percent on a year-to-year comparison basis. Petitions are the first step in the Massachusetts foreclosure process.

Statewide, 292 foreclosure deeds were filed during January, a year-to-year drop of 63 percent, said the Warren Group, a Boston firm that tracks real estate activity.

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Allegations of fraud relating to foreclosure activity slowed down activity during 2011 as media accounts emerged about robo-signing — the practice of signing documents without properly reviewing or even reading them. This temporary lull caused foreclosure levels to appear inflated in 2012, the Warren Group said.

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