WBUR

After 2011 Delays, Mass. Foreclosures Jump In Early 2012

BOSTON — New numbers show a big jump in foreclosure activity in Massachusetts, our Newscast unit reports this morning.

The firm RealtyTrac Inc. says foreclosure activity was up 26 percent in the first quarter of this year, compared to the same period in 2011.

That significant percentage jump is, in large part, due to delays in processing foreclosures in early 2011, according to Daren Blomquist, a firm vice president.

“So it’s kind of the unintended consequence of this intervention in the foreclosure process to try to prevent foreclosures is unfortunately resulting in now these increases that we’re seeing this year,” Blomquist told Newscast.

As the AP reports: “Foreclosure activity … slowed sharply in the fall of 2010 when claims surfaced that some banks and mortgage servicers were processing foreclosures without verifying documents.”

Following this “robo-signing” controversy, a $25 billion settlement with five major banks in Feburary cleared the way for resumed foreclosure activity this year.

Another type of foreclosure activity in the state — scheduled auctions — increased by 19 percent in the first quarter of 2012.

But Blomquist does expect foreclosure activity in Massachusetts to slow down by year’s end.

“We see these increases continuing for most of the year in Massachusetts as the lenders catch up with the delayed foreclosures,” he said. “But then after that, in late 2012, early 2013, I think we’ll see things starting to get better consistently.”

– RealtyTrac also has an interactive foreclosure “heat map” that allows you to scan foreclosure activity by Massachusetts counties. Worcester County has the largest number of foreclosure properties, but Plymouth County has the largest rate per housing units.

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