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Massachusetts home foreclosures on the rise again

The housing crisis that began in 2007 and continued through the recession is largely over at the national level. But in some parts of Massachusetts, particularly the poorer areas, the foreclosure crisis has not ended. In fact, total foreclosures in the state are increasing.

Foreclosure starts in Massachusetts peaked at over 5,000 in the second quarter of 2012. By the same quarter in 2013 the number had declined to 820. But since then foreclosure starts have been steadily rising, as has the number of completed foreclosures.

Most experts say the reason for the increase is that many foreclosures commenced during the height of the crisis were delayed by a state law passed in 2012. That law required lenders to calculate whether it would be cost-effective to modify a loan before going ahead with a foreclosure. Lenders were required to offer a modification if doing so was found to be cost-effective. The passage of the law caused many lenders to delay foreclosures. The foreclosure process generally takes about two years, and many 2012 foreclosures that were restarted in 2014 are now reaching their final stages.

Homeowners facing foreclosure have legal options that in many cases may allow them to stay in their homes. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing can stop foreclosure proceedings long enough to give the debtor time to catch up on their mortgage with manageable payments. Filing a Declaration of Homestead can also help in some cases. An experienced debt relief attorney can help a homeowner explore these and other options.

Source: Masslive.com, "Foreclosure crisis worsens in Massachusetts, spurring cries of state inaction," Shira Schoenberg, Aug. 24, 2016

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