Division of Banks' Report of 2010 Foreclosure Trends Finds New Right-to-Cure Law Decreases Pre-Foreclosure Notices
BOSTON - November 22, 2011 - The Patrick-Murray Administration's Division of Banks released its 2010 Foreclosure Trends report today, finding a decrease in pre-foreclosure notices following Governor Patrick's signing of a new law extending the right-to-cure period to 150 days.
The report, compiled through the Massachusetts Foreclosure Petition Database - a database of owner-occupied home foreclosure activity maintained by the Division - found the Commonwealth experienced a significant drop in foreclosure petition activity in the latter part of 2010, and this trend may be partly attributed to the enactment of Chapter 258 of the Acts of 2010. The Act increased the number of days borrowers must be provided to cure a mortgage default from 90 to 150 days thus providing additional time for homeowners to explore the various options which may be available to them to avoid foreclosure.
"The right-to-cure process is vital to the homeowner, who has time and opportunity to find a solution to their foreclosure problem," said David Cotney, the Commissioner of Banks. "We encourage homeowners facing foreclosure to immediately begin a conversation with their lender and a local, HUD-approved housing counselor to find potential options."
Of the 22,198 foreclosure petitions filed with the Division's database in 2010, 54 percent related to right-to-cure notices mailed to homeowners in 2009, with only 29 percent associated with notices sent in 2010. Right-to-cure notices are letters mailed by lenders to homeowners in default. The letter contains mortgage-related information, options for assistance and encourages borrowers to reach out to lenders to avoid additional late fees and eventual home foreclosure.
According to the 2010 Foreclosure Trends Report, 28 percent of Right to Cure notices sent involved mortgage delinquencies between 61-120 days, and 35 percent involved loans past due by more than 120 days. These statistics suggest lenders have opted to give homeowners an opportunity to bring current or modify their mortgage prior to initiating pre-foreclosure proceedings.
Based on US Census Bureau's 2007-2009 American Community Survey data, there are an estimated 1.1 million housing units with mortgages in Massachusetts. Worcester County, as the largest county in the Commonwealth with the highest proportion of housing units, accounted for 1,155 Right to Cure notices, representing 0.8 percent of its mortgages. Barnstable County, which has one-third the number of owner-occupied housing units in comparison to Worcester County, had 0.7 percent of its mortgages resulting in Right to Cure notices.
"The results of the foreclosure trends report shows that home-ownership retention programs remain critical for Massachusetts homeowners," said Barbara Anthony, the Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. "Since the start of the foreclosure crisis in 2007, the Patrick-Murray Administration has been focused on keeping homeowners in their homes, and continues to work with homeowners, counselors and lenders to stave off as many foreclosures as possible."
To access the 2010 Foreclosure Trends report, visit the Division of Banks' Website.
The Patrick-Murray Administration is committed to working with homeowners in Massachusetts in need of foreclosure prevention assistance. Please visit www.mass.gov/foreclosure for more information about statewide programs and services.