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Mass. Foreclosures Far From Over

Massachusetts Foreclosure Petitions, 01/2009-04/2010

BOSTON — The pace of foreclosures is not letting up in Massachusetts. Petitions — the beginning of foreclosure proceedings — were up 20 percent in April compared to the same month the year before.

The trend worries Vincent Valvo, editor of "Banker & Tradesman."

"The number of petitions continuing to be up means that the problem isn't over," Valvo said. "And that's probably the most troubling."

Valvo blames that on the economy and the unemployment picture in Massachusetts. Foreclosures are more likely when people are out of work and unable to make their mortgage payments.

"There’s an awful lot of homeowners who are still under tremendous economic distress," Valvo said.

The number of foreclosure deeds — the last step in the foreclosure process — is also up, almost 80 percent last month compared to April 2009.

Valvo attributed that to banks, saying they've become more efficient with the process and are moving houses through foreclosure proceedings faster.

But that creates downward pressure on home prices. "These properties are in the market competing with privately-owned homes," Valvo said.

While the latest numbers mean a slight decline in foreclosures compared to the month before, Valvo said year-over-year numbers are more significant and indicate the foreclosure problem is not abating.

"This is going to hang over us for quite a while going forward," Valvo said.

This program aired on May 18, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

Curt Nickisch Twitter Business & Technology Reporter
Curt Nickisch was formerly WBUR's business and technology reporter.

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