The cities of Salem and Peabody both recorded year-over-year drops in completed foreclosures for the month of August, according to data released on Tuesday by the Warren Group, a New England real estate tracker based in Boston.
The low foreclosure numbers in Salem - three this August as opposed to seven last August - and Peabody - two this August, down from four last August - reflect a statewide trend in which Massachusetts recorded 566 completed foreclosures in August, the least of any month so far this year, and the lowest number since February 2011.
The North Shore is on the same track. August foreclosures in Essex County were down more than 56 percent year-over-year, from 94 in August of 2011, to 41 this year.
Year-to-date foreclosures are also down in Essex County compared to last year. From January through August, 500 foreclosures were recorded, down more than 10 percent from 558 for the first eight months of last year. Similarly, Peabody has seen a reduction of more than 28 percent - from 35 in the first eight months of 2011, to 25 for the same time this year - but Salem has recorded one more foreclosure so far this year, for a total of 35.
While completed foreclosures have continued to plummet, a statement from the Warren Group notes that August was the third straight month that they have dropped, foreclosure petitions - which mark the start of the foreclosure process - have increased statewide. Salem and Peabody have both seen 89 foreclosures initiated so far this year, a 48.33 percent over the same time last year for Salem, and nearly 107 percent increase in Peabody.
"Foreclosure starts are close to exceeding the total amount in all of 2011, a seemingly bad sign," Cory Hopkins, editorial director for the Warren Group, said in a statement. "However, we're comparing to a slow year [in 2011] when banks nearly halted their foreclosure proceedings. I don't think this is cause for much alarm, but something to keep an eye on as foreclosures petitions are often a leading indicator of activity to come."
Ryan Mooney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mooney_ryan.