SOUTH PORTLAND – Sales of single-family existing homes rose 8.7 percent in April, marking the ninth consecutive month of higher sales volume, according to the Maine Association of Realtors.

A total of 824 homes sold during April, up from 758 homes a year ago. The median sales price for those homes rose 4.48 percent to $167,950. 

The increases in Maine trailed the gains seen nationally. Sales rose 9.9 percent in the past 12 months nationwide. The median sales price rose 10.4 percent to $178,000 in April, according to the National Association of Realtors. In the Northeastern U.S., sales increased 19.2 percent and the median sales price rose 8.8 percent to $256,600.

“Nine consecutive months of higher sales volume, plus two consecutive months of increased median sale prices, gives both buyers and sellers solid reasons to enter the market,” said Tina Lucas, president of the Maine Association of Realtors.

Lucas noted that much of the recent activity is from first-time home buyers. These new buyers “realize now is the right time to take advantage of the historic low interest rates and attractive pricing,” she said.