The number of homes sold and the prices paid for those homes in Knox County during 2009 were down compared with a year earlier.

Knox County was one of three counties in Maine to experience a drop in sales, according to Maine Real Estate Information System Inc., which is a subsidiary of the Maine Association of Realtors. All 16 Maine counties saw the median prices of homes decline in 2009 compared with 2008.

In Knox County, 331 single-family homes were sold during 2009. This was down 4 percent from 344 in 2008.

The median price of those 331 homes was $182,000, down 3 percent from $188,250 in 2008.

The 2009 sales and prices were also well below the 2007 levels, prior to the start of the recession. In 2007, there were 462 single-family homes sold in Knox County with the median price at $218,100. This means the number of sales in 2009 was down 28 percent from 2007 and the median price was 17 percent less.

There were signs locally, however, of a recovery late in the year. The federal government offered a tax credit of up to $8,000 for first-time home buyers that was set to expire in November but was extended to April 30.

Statewide, the number of homes sold in 2009 rose 10 percent from 2008 but the prices fell 9 percent, dropping to a median price of $164,000. Median prices ranged from a low of $75,000 in Aroostook County to a high of $220,000 in Cumberland County.

The decline in median prices was least in Knox County with the 3 percent drop. The greatest drop came in Piscataquis County where prices fell 21 percent.

Other counties that saw a drop in the number of sales were Franklin, where sales were down 7 percent, and Hancock, which saw a 5 percent drop.

In Lincoln County, the number of single-family home sales in 2009 rose 2 percent to 284. The median price dropped 12 percent to $174,500.

In Waldo County, the number of single-family home sales rose 7 percent to 296. The median price fell 6 percent to $149,900.