July 22, 2013

Maine home sales rose 6.4% in June, but trailed nation

The median price statewide spiked 4.8%, and sales for all of the second quarter jumped 12%.

From staff reports

Maine sales of existing single-family homes rose 6.4 percent in June compared with a year ago, falling short of the double-digit rise seen throughout New England and nationally.

In June, 1,327 homes changed hands in Maine, compared with 1,247 a year ago. The median sale price was $184,000, up 4.8 percent from $175,500 in June 2012. The median means half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

"Many areas of the country are experiencing very strong real estate sales, and Maine is just slightly below the curve, but picking up speed," said Bart Stevens, president of the Maine Association of Realtors. "Buyers who have been sitting on the sidelines are starting to get more motivated. Although interest rates remain near historical lows, the economy continues to improve and indications seem to clearly point toward continued rising rates."

Nationally, existing-home sales rose 14.5 percent in June compared with a year earlier. The National Association of Realtors reported the national median price rose 13.2 percent to $214,700. Regionally, sales in the Northeast were up 16.7 percent, with a regional median price of $270,400, a 6.8 percent increase.

Stevens, an owner/broker with Century 21 Nason Realty in Winslow, said the second-home market in Maine has been surging as customers benefit financially from strong home values in areas such as Massachusetts. Armed with extra cash, buyers are able to take advantage of a strong inventory of seasonal and other second homes at a variety of price points, he said.

For the three-month period from April 1-June 30, sales of existing single-family homes rose 12 percent statewide to 3,478. The median sales price rose 2.3 percent to $179,000.

Sales rose in every county except two: Hancock and Washington. Franklin County saw the biggest percentage increase at 38 percent, but the median sales price dropped 10 percent there to $133,000.

For both Cumberland and York counties, sales rose about 14.5 percent.

Jessica Hall can be contacted at 791-6316 or at:

jhall@pressherald.com

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