Sales of existing homes in Maine jumped 26 percent last month compared to October 2013, according to the Maine Association of Realtors.

Last month, 1,573 homes were sold, compared to 1,246 homes in October 2013. The median sale price was $175,000, a decrease of 0.71 percent compared to a year earlier.

The sales gains in Maine outpaced what’s happening in the region and in the country. Nationwide, sales of single-family homes in October inched up just 2.9 percent over the same time last year, while the median sale price rose 5.6 percent to $208,700. In the Northeast, home sales increased 4.4 percent compared to October 2013, while the median price rose 1.2 percent to $246,900.

“Many buyers hoped to be settled into their new homes before winter, so Realtors have been very busy showing their clients options,” said Angelia Levesque, president of the Maine Association of Realtors. While there’s always a push in the fall, Levesque said, because of last year’s long winter, “it just seems like all our sales have been pushed back. I’m thinking we’re going to have a nice steady transition into 2015.”

Over the past three months – what’s known as the “rolling quarter” – the biggest gains came in Piscataquis, Hancock, Aroostook and and Waldo counties. Ten out of Maine’s 16 counties saw double-digit gains during the period.

Tom Ranello, a broker with Keller Williams Realty, said the numbers reflect the busy pace of activity he’s been seeing.

“We have a stable market,” he said. “Whenever we see interest rates this low, people come out and buy. And low gas prices and low oil prices are a huge factor in terms of how comfortable people are spending money.”

Nationally, new home sales reached their highest annual pace of the year in October, buoyed by low interest rates and stabilizing prices, Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, said in a release.

According to Freddie Mac, the average rate for a 30-year conventional fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 4.03 percent, down from 4.16 percent in September, and the lowest level since June 2013.

In times like these, smaller markets tend to benefit, said Danielle Hale, director of housing statistics at the National Association of Realtors. Other small towns in New England like Shelburne and Williston, Vermont, are seeing big gains, as are Exeter, Concord and Nashua, New Hampshire. Conversely, bigger markets like Boston and its suburbs are seeing declines.

“Prices are lower and affordability is higher in these areas,” Hale said of the smaller markets. With mortgage rates as low as they are, “in areas where things are affordable, it was a great opportunity for buyers to get into the market.”