Updated March 25 at 6:26pm

Foreclosure starts surge 119% in Bristol County, Mass.


BOSTON –Bristol County, Mass. foreclosure starts surged 119 percent in May compared with the same period last year as lenders across the state initiated a wave of new petitions on struggling borrowers, The Warren Group said Thursday.

There were 169 new Bristol County foreclosure starts in May, up from 77 in May 2011, the real estate data tracking firm said. That came after Bristol County foreclosure starts rose 31 percent in April.

Statewide, foreclosure starts in May rose at an even faster rate from last year, 147 percent.

Since the start of the year, foreclosure activity in Massachusetts, including Bristol County, has been accelerating while neighboring Rhode Island has seen foreclosures slow.

Along with foreclosure initiations, completed Massachusetts foreclosures rose 32 percent year over year in May.

Warren Group Editorial Director Cory S. Hopkins attributed the spike in Massachusetts foreclosure starts to the settlement between the country’s five largest lenders and state attorneys general over foreclosure abuses earlier this year.

"Foreclosures are expected to rise throughout this year. We're seeing banks acting more aggressively in resuming foreclosures that were put on hold in 2011," Hopkins said. "In order to return to a healthier market, we need these distressed properties to get cleared from banks' books. The increased activity also leads to opportunity for buyers."


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