If the Massachusetts housing market is on fire right now, it’s only because the state has been out in the cold for so long that we’ve forgotten what real flames look like. Homes are moving at a nice clip in wealthy suburbs that never really felt the recession’s sting, but plenty of Massachusetts homeowners are still hurting, nearly eight years after the state’s housing market collapsed. It’s a measure of how long that hurt has lingered that optimism now springs from the fact that a somewhat smaller slice of the state remains under duress.
Against this less than overwhelming backdrop, though, foreclosures in Massachusetts are all but disappearing. Massachusetts saw a 70 percent drop in bank home seizures in the first three months of the year, leading the real estate tracking firm the Warren Group to declare the state’s foreclosure crisis over. The drop in foreclosures is eye-popping, but so is the context: The foreclosure pipeline is drying up, even though the housing market that feeds the pipeline remains only marginally improved. Six years and 58,000 seized homes later, banks are finally confronting the wasteful senselessness that has defined the Massachusetts foreclosure crisis.