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October 16, 2020

Maine's home foreclosure rate is on the rise, bucking relief-softened US trend

With the number of home foreclosures in Maine rising 18.2% during the third quarter, the state now has one of the largest foreclosure rates in the country.

Maine ranked No. 6 among states with highest foreclosure filing rates during the third quarter of the year, and was No. 4 for the month of September, according to a report released Thursday by ATTOM Data Solutions, which tracks filings nationally.

From July 1 to Sept. 30, there were 208 home foreclosures in Maine, or one per 3,553 housing units, the report said. That level placed Maine behind only South Carolina, Illinois, New Mexico, New Jersey and Delaware, by rank, and just ahead of Florida.

During September, the foreclosure rate in Maine was one per 9,013 housing units, less than the rates in only three states: South Carolina, Florida and Alabama.

Despite the increase, the rate in Maine still represents a 66.8% drop from the number during the third quarter last year.

Across the U.S. during Q3 this year, there were 27,016 properties with foreclosure filings — defined as mortgage default notices, scheduled auctions or bank repossessions. That number is down 12% from the Q2 total and down 81% from a year ago, and is the lowest level since ATTOM began keeping foreclosure data in 2008.

The report also shows there were a total of 9,707 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings in September, down 2% from August and down 80% from September 2019.

ATTOM, a real estate data firm based in California, didn’t offer an explanation of why foreclosures in Maine are on the rise while they’re down nationally. But the decrease may be misleading, according to the firm.

"Foreclosure activity has, for all intents and purposes, ground to a halt due to moratoria put in place by the federal, state and local governments and the mortgage forbearance program initiated by the CARES Act," said Rick Sharga, executive vice president of ATTOM subsidiary RealtyTrac, in a news release.

"But it's important to remember that the numbers we're seeing today are artificially low, even as the number of seriously delinquent loans continues to increase, and that we'll see a significant — and probably quite sudden — burst of foreclosure activity once these various government programs expire."

For the complete report, click here.

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