Home foreclosures in Wakefield are up compared to this time of year last year, which follows the overall statewide trend, according to new data released by the Warren Group.
Foreclosure petitions, the first step in a foreclosure, tripled in March compared to last year in Wakefield, with three forclosure petitions in March this year versus one in March of 2011.
Year-to-date foreclosure petitions have also risen in Wakefield. By this time last year, four petitions to foreclose were filed, compared to nine this year, a 125 percent increase.
Statewide, lenders filed 1,621 petitions to foreclose in March, a 54.7 percent increase from 1,048 in March 2011. A total of 4,348 petitions to foreclose have been filed in Massachusetts during the first quarter, a 71.5 percent increase from 2,535 in the first quarter of last year.
One of the reasons for the dramatic gains is that foreclosure activity was significantly slower in 2011, according to the Warren Group. A national foreclosure suit against lenders coupled with a new law extending the right-to-cure period to 150 days caused for a major slowdown in foreclosure activity.
"Banks are stepping up foreclosures all over the country, and Massachusetts is no exception," said Timothy Warren, Jr., chief executive officer of The Warren Group. "Since the suit by state attorneys general over foreclosure abuses has been settled, a cloud has lifted and we may see numbers continue to rise."
Foreclosure deeds, which represent finished foreclosures, also posted a sharp increase in March in Wakefield, and statewide. There were no foreclosures in March of 2011, but two in March of 2012. At this time last year, there had only been one home foreclosed upon, versus this year, three have been foreclosed upon in Wakefield.
Overall in Massachusetts, foreclosure deeds rose 36.5 percent to 856 in March, up from 627 in March 2011, according to figures from The Warren Group. Foreclosure deeds totaled 2,254 in the first quarter of 2012, a 34.4 percent increase from 1,677 in the first quarter of 2011.
"We should note that foreclosure activity this year is well below the peak levels that we saw from 2007-2010," Warren said. "For example, March's elevated number of petitions to foreclose is still 37 percent below the number we saw in March 2010."