Foreclosures Build Up Backlog in Massachusetts

Massachusetts attorney general Martha Coakley must be so proud — lenders in Massachusetts only filed 351 foreclosure petitions during June 2008, thanks to a statewide law that has added 60 days to default timelines by establishing a 90-day “right to cure” after a borrower defaults in single-family, owner-occupied residences. The law, which went into effect during April, has suppressed foreclosure actions for two straight months. But the lull is temporary at best, said one attorney who manages foreclosures in the state, who suggested that the number of borrowers actually curing their defaults during the extra 60 days provided under the law is “astronomically low.” “Massachusetts foreclosures are in a holding pattern, but the low numbers of filings we’ve seen over the past two months will end within the next four to six weeks,” explained Jeremy Shapiro, president and co-founder of, who released the data Monday morning. “Massachusetts homeowners continue to face a wide range of economic pressures, and will soon return to the record foreclosure levels being seen nationwide.” Lenders initiated 30,026 foreclosures statewide against homeowners in the 12 months from July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008, a year over year increase of 22.41 percent. In the past 12 months, foreclosures are up in 241 of the state’s 351 communities, with 75 communities experiencing at least a 50 percent increase in filings. The second quarter saw 4,157 filings, driven by April’s 3,414 filings — the single highest month on record; overall, the number of foreclosure filings during the second quarter was 23 percent lower than one year ago, due to the low numbers filed in May and June. June’s 351 filings — resulting because of the mandated extension before foreclosure action can be filed in Land Court — led to an 85.02 percent decrease from the 2,343 petitions filed in June 2007. “The real estate market is in true turmoil – homeowners who are looking for a quick turnaround to market conditions need to be aware that a true recovery won’t occur in the near future,” Shapiro said. For more information, visit

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