November home sales were up more than 20 percent in Maine compared with a year earlier, out-pacing other increases in New England by a wide margin.

The Maine Association of Realtors on Tuesday reported a 22.7 percent jump in sales of existing, detached single-family homes compared with November 2014. The median sale price for existing homes also continued its upward trend, rising 4.4 percent to $180,000 compared with a year earlier. The median indicates that half of the homes were sold for more and half sold for less.

Association President Marie Flaherty said in a news release that mild weather and threats of rising interest rates have had some impact on buyer decisions in the state. However, pent-up demand has had the biggest effect in Maine, she said.

“The winter season is still a great time for sellers to consider listing their home, as life changes always prompt the need to sell and buy homes – regardless of season,” Flaherty said.

Portland real estate broker Michael Sosnowski of Maine Home Connection said fears about new loan-disclosure rules implemented in October slowing down the home-buying process appear to be mostly unfounded, although that could change as the market heats up next spring. One new requirement is that buyers must be given three days to consider any changes to the loan agreement.

Overall, he said, market conditions remain strong in Cumberland County, where homes have sustained a median price of over $250,000 for six consecutive months.

The key to making a successful purchase in the new disclosure environment is to work with lenders, agents and attorneys who are well-versed in the new rules, Sosnowski said.

“It’s definitely more complex, and the timing requirements are real,” he said.

For the three-month period ending Nov. 30, home sales in Maine were up 11.4 percent from the same period of 2014, from 3,945 sales to 4,394 sales, according to the association. The median sale price increased 5.7 percent from $175,000 to $185,000.

Among Maine’s 16 counties, only two experienced sales declines for the three-month period compared with a year earlier: Androscoggin (-7.8 percent) and Hancock (-0.9 percent). Five counties had decreases in median sale price: Aroostook (-12 percent), Franklin (-4 percent), Knox (-4 percent), Penobscot (-3.7 percent) and Piscataquis (-4.1 percent).

The biggest sales increase for the three-month period was in Washington County, where sales were up 29.6 percent from 81 to 105. Washington County also had the biggest boost in median price – a 43.6 percent jump from $70,000 to $105,000.

Another report issued last week by real estate brokerage RE/MAX Integra of New England compared sales of existing single-family homes and condominiums throughout the region in November. It found that sales were up 22.1 percent in Maine, compared with 10.1 percent in New Hampshire and Rhode Island, 6.7 percent in Massachusetts, 4.3 percent in Connecticut and 3.5 percent in Vermont. The median sale price increased in all states but Connecticut and Vermont, it said. In Maine, pending home sales in November were up about 25 percent over the same month last year.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors reported a 4.6 percent dip in single-family existing home sales nationwide, while the national median price increased 6.6 percent to $221,600 in November. Regionally, it said sales in the Northeast were up 1.5 percent from November 2014, and the regional median of $254,800 represented a 3.2 percent rise.


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