May 29, 2012 | last updated May 29, 2012 10:47 am

Mass. Foreclosures Rise

April foreclosures in Massachusetts remained at levels dramatically higher than those recorded last year and the highest monthly total in nearly two years, but it's not a sign of panic for the real estate market, The Warren Group said today.

The Boston-based provider of real estate data said the number of foreclosure petitions, which mark the first step in the foreclosure process, rose almost 47 percent year-over year to 1,750 in April across the commonwealth, up from 1,191 in April 2011.

In each of the first three months of this year, petitions ranged from 1,333 to 1,621.
April's total was the highest since September 2010, when 2,358 petitions were filed. Through April, 6,098 petitions have been filed, up 64 percent from 3,726 during the first quarter of 2011.

"Foreclosure activity was so low last year that we're inevitably seeing a rise in foreclosures across the state," said Cory S. Hopkins, editorial director of The Warren Group. "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 banks' books."

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