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Mass. Foreclosures Keep Rising, Despite Shadows Of Progress

Foreclosures across Massachusetts are down from a year ago — but still rising.

The Warren Group, a real estate tracking firm, reports foreclosures jumped nearly 30 percent from September to October, although the total number was down slightly from a year ago.

"Although there is some great desire for this foreclosure nightmare to be going away, it looks like it's still ramping up rather than slowing down," said the group's Vincent Valvo.

The number of petitions to foreclose, which is the first step in the process, fell nine percent from September, but petitions rose 11 percent higher than in October 2008.

Valvo says that drop is explained by a recent court ruling that requires lenders to get their paperwork in order about who owns the property before they foreclosing.

"It's a technical glitch," Valvo said. "It's not a signal that we have turned any sort of a corner here."

Valvo said foreclosures would continue to rise until the economy and unemployment turn around.

He said one key indicator is that mortgage delinquencies have continued to rise across the state. Five percent of Massachusetts residents who have a mortgage are more than 60 days past due on their payments. He said that is more than double the mortgage delinquency rate last year.

In a sign of economic recovery in Massachusetts, the state said the unemployment rate fell last month for the first time in two years, from 9.3 percent in September to 8.9 percent in October.

This program aired on November 19, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

Kathleen McNerney Twitter Senior Editor, Edify
Kathleen McNerney is senior editor of Edify.

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