Rising home prices have helped slacken the pace of foreclosure starts, according to The Warren Group, which reported Tuesday that June foreclosure petitions were down 18.3 percent compared to last year.

The 5,783 foreclosure petitions filed in the first six months of 2017 is 12.6 percent below the number in the first half of 2016, according to the Warren Group, which reported last week that the median home sale price in Massachusetts during June was $395,000.

“In keeping with the previous two months of this year, June saw its first year-over-year decrease in petitions since 2013, as the backlog of old delinquencies dissipates,” Warren Group CEO Timothy Warren said in a statement. “Surging prices in the state’s housing market have helped to keep new foreclosure starts at bay, since homeowners unable to pay their mortgage have more leeway if they’re forced to sell.”

Rising prices and limited inventories of properties for sale can also keep potential purchasers out of the housing market.

The number of completed foreclosures – or recorded foreclosure deeds – was down 2.3 percent in June 2017 compared to June 2016, and it was down 6.8 percent so far this year compared to the same period last year, according to business information company, which publishes Banker & Tradesman.

The Warren Group reported the number of foreclosure auctions scheduled in June was down 19.8 percent compared to a year earlier. The 3,797 foreclosure auctions so far in 2017 is down 18.3 percent compared to the same period in 2016. – Andy Metzger/SHNS