Last month, the number of Massachusetts borrowers who lost their home to foreclosure rose by approximately 41 percent over the previous year. In February 2012, 1,394 properties entered into foreclosure and 736 properties were foreclosed upon. Both numbers rose significantly from February 2011. In January 2012, mortgage petitions rose by about 68 percent over the previous year.
The rise in foreclosure rates may not be as alarming as they initially appear, however. According to a spokesperson for the Warren Group, a Boston firm that tracks activity in the real estate market, foreclosure activity stalled dramatically in early 2011 in response to alleged mortgage industry fraud. Many banks simply stopped processing foreclosures in 2011. The Warren Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Timothy M. Warren Jr., stated the rise in foreclosure numbers do not necessarily indicate a new wave of defaulting homeowners in the state. According to the Warren Group, because the number of deeds filed has dropped and that is the last step in the foreclosure process, banks are likely simply moving through their foreclosure backlog.
Last year, Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office received almost 1,000 mortgage and foreclosure related complaints. According to Coakley, addressing the mortgage foreclosure crisis is a critical step to restoring the Massachusetts economy. Last month, Massachusetts joined in a $25 billion foreclosure settlement with five major banks. The settlement is designed to provide homeowners who lost their homes through improper foreclosures with approximately $2,000 in compensation. Under the settlement terms, the Attorney General also maintained the ability to pursue claims against the banks for unlawful foreclosure practices in Massachusetts.
Buying a new home can be an exciting time. Whether you already own property and are looking to move up, or you are thinking about buying a home for the first time, there is a lot to think about when entering into a real estate transaction. Every real estate purchase is unique and a lot is at stake for everyone involved. If you choose to purchase a previously foreclosed home, there are additional factors to consider in order to protect your family’s financial interests. By hiring an experienced real estate lawyer early on in the process, you may be able to avoid common and often costly mistakes.
If you are considering purchasing a home in Massachusetts, contact Pulgini & Norton, LLP today. Our knowledgeable Andover real estate attorneys are available to negotiate with lenders on your behalf, examine a property’s title, and handle any unforeseen issues which may arise in connection with your property transaction. Our lawyers can assist you with the purchase process by negotiating any changes to the purchase agreement, resolving title issues, reviewing the HUD settlement statement, and protecting your interests at closing. Pulgini & Norton assists clients throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts including Bristol, Norfolk, Suffolk, Middlesex, and Worcester counties. To speak with a hardworking real estate attorney, call Pulgini & Norton at (888) 344-2046 or contact us through our website.
Prices Rise as Boston Housing Inventory Declines to New Low, Massachusetts Real Estate Lawyer Blog, February 26, 2012
Most in U.S. Are Satisfied With Homeownership, Massachusetts Real Estate Lawyer Blog, February 14, 2012
Mass. foreclosure activity jumps, by Chris Reidy, Boston Globe
Mortgage, foreclosure issues top Mass. Complaints, by Jenifer B. McKim, Boston Globe
Mass. joins $25B foreclosure settlement, by Sarah Coffey, Boston Business Journal