AUGUSTA — The good news is that the median price for existing homes in York County is up significantly than this time last year — up by double digit percentages.

But not as many homes sold in February, March and April as they did the previous year because, real estate professionals say, there continues to be a shortage of inventory.

“Across Maine, for-sale inventory is tight. Single-family homes actively listed for sale in April 2017 were down 25 percent statewide, compared to April 2016,” said Greg Gosselin of York, president of the Maine Association of Realtors and owner of Gosselin Realty Group. “Low inventory is impacting potential sellers as well. Some are hesitant to list their homes without a suitable ‘next step’ to move into.”

Elias Thomas, president-elect of the York County Council of Realtors and owner of Exit Key Real Estate in Shapleigh, said when homes do come on the market, if they are priced properly,  they go under contract very quickly.

Thomas encouraged potential sellers to put their homes on the market, but advised they incur the expense of a home inspection first, “so there’s no surprises.”

“It saves anxiety and possibly on expenses later on,” he said.

During the February through April time period, 531 existing homes were sold in York County this year, as compared to 620 during the same period in 2016, a decrease of 14.35 percent.

But there was good news for sellers during the three month period. The median sale price for an existing home in York County was $244,000, up 11.14 percent from the median sale price of $219,500 during the same period in 2016.

Statewide during the February through April time period, the median existing home sale price rose 5.11 percent, from $176,000 to $185,000, according to the Maine Association of Realtors.

As to the low inventories, that holds true statewide, where sales of existing houses were off nearly 14 percent in April, with 1,106 homes being sold, versus 1,285 in 2016. By contrast, March home sales were up by slightly more than 9 percent statewide from March 2016, with 1,189 homes marked sold, versus 1,089 in March of the prior year. The Maine Association of Realtors does not provide monthly figures for counties.

Thomas believes the demand for housing inventory will continue as long as sellers “don’t get crazy’ with prices.

Thomas said he doesn’t believe the federal mortgage interest tax deduction will evaporate, as has been rumored, or other federal tax programs, like the one that defers capital gains taxes on investment property until a sale will disappear — if that were to happen, Americans would become a nation of renters, not buyers, he predicted.

“Buyers, out-of-staters with whom I deal a great deal, seem to have pent up emotions, they sat on their funds for a few years and finally see interest rates are holding reasonably steady and they say ‘okay its time to make the move,’ whether to a mountain retreat, a lake property or  an investment property.”

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or [email protected]

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