Thursday, March 04, 2010

Globe story on January foreclosures

Tuesday’s Globe carried a story with the encouraging headline “Mass foreclosures drop in January.” I had to read the article several times to be sure the reporter was talking about THIS January, because nothing that I’ve seen supports such a statement. The source of the story – Warren Group CEO Tim Warren – surely knows his stuff and he’s quoted as saying that January 2010 saw the lowest level of foreclosure petitions since December 2008. Now to be fair, “foreclosure petitions” means new cases filed in the Land Court so that would certainly be an early indicator. We, on the other hand, track Orders of Notice (which come shortly after the petition is filed in the Land Court) and foreclosure deeds which are recorded after the auction sale is held.

And what we’ve seen paints quite a different picture. The number of orders of notice filed in January 2010 (168) and in February 2010 (141) each exceeded the total recorded in any month during 2009. The closest was October 2010 with 117. The number of foreclosure deeds filed in January 2010 (59) exceeded any monthly total from 2009 and the number in February 2010 (45) exceeded every month in 2009 except January and October which both at 49. In just less than four days so far this month, we’ve already had 25 orders of notice and 11 foreclosure deeds.

I do hope the Globe report is accurate because it might be a sign of a rebound in real estate. Perhaps the Greater Lowell area is lagging behind the rest of the state in this regard. But I tend to think not, because everything I see points to a long, slow recovery of real estate prices.

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