Updated March 4 at 3:04pm

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ECONOMIC INDICATORS

Bristol County, Mass. foreclosures drop 87% in January

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BOSTON – Bristol County, Mass., foreclosure starts dropped 17.4 percent in January while finished foreclosures plummeted 86.7 percent compared with the first month of 2012, The Warren Group said Monday.

The real estate tracking firm reported 109 Bristol County foreclosure petitions (the first step in the foreclosure process) filed in January, down from 132 in January 2012.

The number of foreclosure deeds filed in January, marking completed repossessions by lenders, dropped to 24 compared with 180 deeds filed in January 2012.

Statewide, Massachusetts foreclosures dropped “dramatically,” posting double-digit decreases in both starts and completed foreclosures, according to The Warren Group.

Foreclosure starts dropped 29.5 percent year over year in January from 1,333 to 940, while finished foreclosures dropped 63.5 percent from 799 to 292 in January.

“We’re finally seeing a clear picture of the trend in foreclosures - and it is good news,” Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of The Warren Group, said in a statement. “The housing market has greatly improved - a sign that the economy is gaining ground and foreclosures will continue to subside.”

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