Sales of single-family homes in Portland in 2012 reached the highest level since 2007, before the recession.
Sales totaled 427 homes last year, up about 14 percent from 2011, according to data compiled by the Maine Home Connection real estate firm.
The last time sales topped that level was 2007, when sales totaled 488 single-family homes, the real estate firm found.
"Considering where we've been and what the market has gone through, I'd say this is very positive news," said Tina Lucas of Lucas Real Estate in Portland, president of the Maine Association of Realtors.
The data, for only Portland, was compiled by Maine Home Connection using the Multiple Listing Service, a marketing database set up by a group of cooperating real estate brokers.
The growth in 2012 is in stark contrast to 2011, when Portland had the lowest level of single-family home sales in the last decade -- only 375 -- according to Maine Home Connection.
The median sale price in Portland also rose in 2012, but only slightly. The year ended with a median price of $223,000, up from $219,000 in 2011, according to Maine Home Connection. After several years of decreasing or stagnant pricing, that was a positive sign.
Another positive point was pending sales in December, which were up 34 percent in Portland, said Michael Sosnowski, a broker with Maine Home Connection.
"The expectation is that it's going to be a very solid year," said Sosnowski, who expects a further increase in median selling prices in Portland in 2013.
The most recorded homes sales in Portland was 570 in 2006, followed by 566 in 2004 and 519 in 2005, according to Maine Home Connection.
Staff Writer Jessica Hall can be contacted at 791-6316 or at: