Foreclosures are down on the North Shore

LYNN — The number of North Shore homes foreclosed by lenders has dropped by more than a third from a year ago, a sign the region is getting stronger, according to new data from The Warren Group.

“It’s an indication of a better economy and people actually having equity in their homes instead of being underwater,” said Timothy Warren, CEO of The Warren Group, the Boston real estate tracker. “It helps that home prices are rising and there’s a lack of homes for sale.”

Lenders filed 58 foreclosure deeds, the final stage of the foreclosure process, in the eight North Shore communities covered by The Item from January through April. That’s down from 89 for the same period a year ago, a 35 percent drop. The towns include Lynn, Lynnfield, Marblehead, Nahant, Peabody, Revere, Saugus, and Swampscott.

“In a good economy, if something happens and you have trouble meeting your mortgage, your home should be worth more than what you paid for it,” Warren said. “Especially if it’s been a few years since the purchase. The solution is not to let the bank take it.”

Another factor fueling an improved economy is the Bay State’s low jobless rate. In April, the most recent data available, the Bay State’s unemployment rate was 3.5 percent, according to the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. Preliminary job estimates indicate Massachusetts added 6,100 jobs in April.

The biggest drop in foreclosures came in Lynn. During the first four months of this year, 25 homes were taken by lenders, down from 38 for the same period in 2017, a 35 percent dip.

Revere also saw its foreclosure numbers drop. Since January, 10 homes were seized, down from 15 one year ago; Peabody foreclosures fell from 17 a year ago to five this year; Nahant has not had any foreclosures this year, down from two from January through April of last year; Swampscott has had two in 2018, down from three a year ago; Lynnfield saw four foreclosures this year, down from five last year; Marblehead’s numbers dropped to three in 2018, from four a year ago.

“There’s clearly a statewide trend of falling numbers of foreclosures,” Warren said.

Saugus was the only North Shore community to see its foreclosure numbers rise. From January through April, nine  homes were seized by lenders, up from five a year ago.

Jeff Weeden, planning and development manager at the Lynn Housing Authority & Neighborhood Development, did not return a call seeking comment.

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