An Introduction to the Real Estate Market of The State of Maine
The geography of Maine, and New England in general, tends to affect its business dealings, even in the market of real estate. Close quarters make for close bedfellows, and such is the case with the borrower and lender in the state of Maine. Whether talking about public or private support for those who need mortgages, the state tends to be quite exclusive unless it sees the borrower investing in the local economy and community. Once inside, however, Maine is one of the most understanding and flexible states when it comes to helping first time home buyers, families, and people in financial straits stay in their houses. This attitude keeps the housing market stable even in uncertain economic environments, and allows for the government and the private financial institutions of the state to collaborate somewhat and offer some of the best deals in the nation when it comes to the real estate market.
Real Estate Prices in Maine
The real estate in Maine tends to be one of the most advantageous buys to the borrower that the nation affords, mostly because of the exclusive nature of its economy. People who are in Maine stay, and cultivate not only business, but personal relationships with financial institutions. People tend to help each other out there. At the same time, the volatile exploits of real estate investors and outside property management business interests are kept away, which means that borrowers are not concerned with profit and turnover, and lenders do not have to be concerned with short term dealings which cut into its long term profit margin. People who buy a home in Maine come to stay, and usually are supported by the local economy, which negates most concerns of monthly payments and interest rates. Most of the mortgages in Maine are quite vanilla affairs. In turn, this keeps home prices quite stable. Because of the stable economy Maine has always provided, its homes are some of the more pricey in “rural New England,” but mostly in line with the mortgage rates around the rest of the nation.
Average Housing Values
The median home in Maine is slightly above the national average, but tends to hold its value much more than does the typical home. Fixed mortgage rates are slightly below the national average, while adjustable mortgage rates come in slightly above. This may be because the financial institutions in Maine tend to deal with more fixed mortgages than adjustable mortgages, according to official state statistics of foreclosure proceedings. Even so, adjustable rates are more easily negotiated in Maine than in other parts of the nation.
Maine’s Most Popular Cities to Hold Residence
Being a coastside state, it is perhaps telling that a city named Bar Harbor would be one of the largest population clusters in Maine, and its largest island population cluster. People continue to be quite drawn to Acadia National Park and the natural historic beauty it contains, having been originally settled by one of the founding American Indian tribes of the Americas. The city remains one of the largest tourist draws of the state because of its immaculate summers and the mystique of Cadillac Mountain — the place where the sun first strikes the United States every day.
Portland, as one of the most populous cities in the state, contains one of the highest median house prices, but not the highest. That honor goes to Hillsborough, which holds both the second highest priced home and the highest median price for homes in the state. The city is a suburb close to the fishing industry and much of the old money in the state. Hillsborough is the highest earning city in the state with a median income of a little above US $260,000.
Other cities which are growing rapidly because of the stability of the sea and the new industries which constantly flood the coastline of Maine are Biddeford, Bangor, Lewiston, Augusta, and Auburn.
Types of Mortgages Offered in Maine
Maine offers conventional mortgage loans. The minimum amount for a down payment is only 5 percent, and can be readily offered by financial institutions because of the relative stability of the state. The state also has a program for FHA mortgages, which are subsidized by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These FHA mortgages give the debtor the opportunity to get into a home for as little as 3 percent down payment upon meeting certain other standards, and also provides for a quite vague “allowable” costs of closing. The seller is even allowed to help the buyer with a small percentage of closing costs. These loans have a max loan amount put on them. The Flex 97 percent plan, however, is similar to the FHA mortgage except for this maximum lending amount, if the borrower is a single family that has a principal owner with a credit score over 680. Maine also offers variations of challenged credit loans, high debt ratio loans, jumbo loans, and construction loans.
Foreclosure Laws in Maine
- Lenders in Maine by and large use strictly judicial foreclosure.
- Borrowers have a redemption period of 90 days in the state of Maine.
- By state law, the lender fully waives the procedure of foreclosure if it accepts anything of monetary worth in relation to the debt on the mortgage after foreclosure procedure has started.
- During the redemption period, the debtor is allowed to stay in the house and attempt to rectify the foreclosure situation by paying off the mortgage in full.
- By state law, lenders are allowed to pursue deficiency judgments.
The Foreclosure Procedure in Maine
Maine is a recourse state, which greatly affects its foreclosure policy. Court schedules in Maine give lenders a bit more breathing room, as fully realizing a foreclosure proceeding in the state usually takes between 180 and 200 days. To begin the foreclosure proceedings, lenders must file a lis pendens along with an official court complaint against the debtor. The debtor must be provided this information as well within 30 days of any suggested foreclosure sale date, and this sale must be publicly advertised for 3 consecutive weeks before the date of the sale.
Borrowers have many more options to delay foreclosure proceedings in Maine than in most states. Actions by borrowers which oppose foreclosure are taken under much greater consideration in Maine than in most other states, and bankruptcy is a notably long procedure under Maine state law.
Maine has a right of redemption written into state law, with an execution date of three months or one year depending on the timing of the executed mortgage. However long the redemption rights of the borrower, they must be fully expired before any further action can be taken to foreclose or induce a sale of foreclosure upon the property in question.
Lenders can seek deficiency judgments when the foreclosure sale yields less than the loan amount for which the property in question is able to secure.
Lenders do have certain rights, among them: Once the foreclosure reaches the point of sale date, the borrower may no longer postpone the sale any more than seven days. Lenders also negotiate the down payment or percentage amount that any potential new owner must pay in order to take possession of a foreclosed house. This amount is usually set by state law in other states.