Sales of existing single-family homes in Maine in June were down slightly, although prices continued to rise, according to industry data released Wednesday.
Some 1,720 homes sold in June, 4.3 percent fewer than in June 2019. The median sales price was up 4.15 percent to $249,000. The median sales price indicates that half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less.
Still, home sales and prices showed signs of recovering compared to May, when 1,257 homes were sold with a median sales price of $238,000. National sales saw a similar trend of a rise in sales from May to June but a decline compared to sales one year ago.
“The June statistics show improvement and indicate that sellers, buyers and our industry partners are adjusting to Maine’s health and safety protocols and have growing confidence to transact real estate business,” said Tom Cole, president of the Maine Association of Realtors.
He said that 75 percent of buyers of single-family homes in Maine are from Maine, followed by 7 percent from Massachusetts and 4 percent from New Hampshire.
Cumberland, Franklin, Hancock and Lincoln counties all saw more than 20 percent drops in units sold in April, May and June of 2020 compared to those three months in 2019. Aroostook and Piscataquis were the only two counties that saw home price decreases during that period.
Nationally, existing home sales rose nearly 21 percent from May to June, according to data released Wednesday by the National Association of Realtors. Sales still were down more than 11 percent compared to June 2019.
“The sales recovery is strong, as buyers were eager to purchase homes and properties that they had been eyeing during the shutdown,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, in a statement. “This revitalization looks to be sustainable for many months ahead as long as mortgage rates remain low and job gains continue.”
Yun said significantly low inventory was a problem even before the pandemic and can lead to inflated costs.
While mortgage delinquencies remain high because of the pandemic, foreclosure filings declined 44 percent in the first six months of this year compared to those same six months in 2019, according to ATTOM Data Solutions, which monitors foreclosures including default notices, scheduled auctions or bank repossessions. They also were down 54 percent compared to the same six months in 2018.
Banks also have been canceling fees and deferring loan payments during the pandemic. Foreclosure figures are likely to rise once the federal government’s ban on lenders pursuing most delinquent loans is lifted at the end of August, according to Ohan Antebian, general manager of RealtyTrac, an ATTOM subsidiary.
“Distressed property volume is almost guaranteed to increase significantly once the moratorium is lifted because millions of Americans missed their mortgage payments in June and will continue to because of unemployment,” Antebian said.