Report: Mass. Foreclosures Up 32 Percent In 2010

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The number of completed foreclosures in Massachusetts increased 32 percent in 2010 compared with the previous year, and an expert is sounding a cautious tone for the year ahead.

The Warren Group, an independent publisher of real estate data, said there were 12,233 foreclosure deeds filed last year, up from 9,269 in 2009.

But the group also reports that foreclosure petitions — the first step in the foreclosure process — declined more than 14 percent in 2010.

Warren Group CEO Timothy Warren says the drop in petitions was a "bright spot" in an otherwise gloomy year. But he also says the petition figures may have been skewed by a slowing down of the foreclosure process by lenders during the last four months of 2010.

"It's probably just a sign that the legal issues involved — knowing who owns the mortgage, how are banks following the proper procedures — that that's all just slowed down," said Vincent Valvo, also of the Warren Group.

Warren says it should not be assumed that the foreclosure crisis has passed.

This program aired on January 19, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.