Foreclosure deeds filed in Massachusetts in May dropped 58.6 percent from the previous year, although foreclosure petitions — the first step in commencing foreclosure proceedings — rose sharply, according to The Warren Group.

Deeds filed in May were also 24.3 percent below April’s count and, year-to-date, were 26.3 percent below the first five months of 2008. There were 4,110 deeds recorded during the first five months of this year, compared with 5,576 during the same period last year.

“The number of foreclosure deeds recorded in May was the lowest since April 2007. It is encouraging that foreclosures have declined for two months straight. I think lenders have realized how costly foreclosures can be and are taking steps to avoid foreclosure whenever possible,” said Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of The Warren Group.

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