Foreclosure petitions filed in Massachusetts jumped 47% year-over-year in April, real estate research firm The Warren Group said Tuesday.

While the surge marks three months of increases, the research firm's editorial director Cory Hopkins calls the increase necessary to clear "the backlog of distressed properties" and a move to a healthier real estate market.

Foreclosure petitions year-over-year rose from 1,191 filings in April of last year to 1,750 petitions in April 2012.

"It’s necessary for a wave of foreclosures to work through the system this year, but it shouldn’t cause panic. In order to return to a healthier market, the backlog of distressed properties needs to be cleared from bank's books," said Hopkins.

Advertised foreclosure auction notices fell slightly in April, with 1,354 auction announcements filed last month. That is down 2% from 1,382 a year earlier. But year-to-date, auction notices rose 18% from 4,675 last year to 5,528 last month.