Sales of single-family homes rose nearly 12 percent in December, and jumped 17 percent for the full year thanks in part to low interest rates, reasonable selling prices and shrinking inventory on the market.

Sales totaled 888 homes statewide in December, up from 794 homes a year ago, according the Maine Real Estate Information System. The median sale price rose 6.25 percent to $170,000.

For the full year of 2012, realtors sold 11,512 homes across the state, up 17 percent over 2011.

“Many buyers have been sitting on the sideline waiting for just the ‘right’ time to begin the home buying process, and 2012 seemed to offer the right alignments,” said Bart Stevens, president of the Maine Association of Realtors. “Declining inventory coupled with historically low interest rates and reasonable home prices made for an attractive time to jump into the market.”

Realtors saw a steady stream of first-time homebuyers and a significant numbersof people moving up in the market with bigger homes, Stevens said.