BOSTON — The number of foreclosure petitions filed in Massachusetts has remained below 1,000 for the fourth month in a row after the petitions marking the first step in the foreclosure process fell more than 38 percent in February when compared with a year ago.
The Warren Group, an independent publisher of real estate data, reported Tuesday that lenders filed 856 petitions in February, down from 1,394 the previous February. The Boston-based publisher says there were 1,796 foreclosure petitions filed so far this year, which is a 34 percent decline from 2,727 recorded during the same period last year.
The decline is fueled by improvements in the job market as well as lenders’ willingness to do short sales and modify loans, said Warren Group CEO Timothy Warren.
“Seeing four consecutive months of petitions below 1,000 is a promising sign,” he said.
Lenders filed 240 foreclosure deeds in February, the final step in the foreclosure process. That marks a 69 percent decline from 767 filed a year ago. A total of 532 foreclosure deeds have been filed so far this year, representing a 66 percent decline from 1,384 recorded at the same time last year, the group said.
Auction announcements dropped 76 percent to 330 over the last year. The total number of announcements stood at 669 at the end of February, a 77 percent decline from 2,960 recorded during the same period last year.