While existing homes sales statewide were down in November, and down slightly in York County in the Sept. 1 to Nov. 30 time period, sales prices are up, and realtors say the market is brisk. Journal Tribune File Image

YORK COUNTY — While fewer existing homes sold in York County for the three-month period ending Nov. 30 and the president of the Maine Association of Realtors said statistically 2019 and 2018 sales figures are in a “dead heat,” the market continues to be strong,  local real estate brokers say.

“We’ve had a fabulous year,” said Kate Scamman of the Saco North office of The Bean Group. “We’re extremely pleased with our sales results.”

The word is the same at Pack Maynard in Kennebunk, where on Dec. 23 owner Heidi Maynard was headed out the door, preparing to host showings in the lead-up to the Christmas holiday. She said she expects year-end figures will show the firm did $85 million in sales in the Kennebunks in 2019, and a total of $105 million after sales from other areas are included in the total.

“Five showings two days before Christmas,” she said.

The Maine Association of Realtors reports low inventories. Scamman said that appears to be true at a particular price point — the $250,000 to $350,000 range — and those homes are snapped up quickly when they hit the market.

Business is brisk in any case.

“We had a condo we put under contract with a (home) flipper,” said Scamman. “We did four flips with him this year and we closed on the condo in 10 days. He’ll put the condo back on the market in January, after renovations, and we already have three to four people lined up who want to see it.”

That condo went under contract to the flipper on the first day it appeared on the Maine multiple listing service, Scamman said.

The Maine Association of Realtors reported 852 homes sold in York County from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30 this year, about 1.84 percent fewer than during the same period in 2018, when 868 existing homes were sold — but the median price was up by a healthy 6.38 percent. From Sept. 1 to Nov. 30, 2018, the median existing home price in York County was $282,000; this year it was $300,000 during the same period.

By comparison, according to the MAR figures, sales of existing homes in nearby Cumberland County were down 4.80 percent, with 1,092 selling in the Sept. 1 to Nov. 30 period in 2019, down from 1,147 in 2018. The median sale price however was up substantially, from $304,000 to $330,000 — 8.55 percent.

For November alone, the number of existing home sales were off statewide, down 7.59 percent over 2018. During the month of November this year, 1,498 existing homes sold statewide, a decrease from 1,621 in 2018. The median sale price saw an increase, 2.75 percent, to $225,000, up from $219,000 in 2018.  The agency does not provide county statistics for single months.

MAR continues to site a lack of inventory for the decrease in sales, as it has for the past couple of years.

“Statistics from November continue to reflect the up-and-down pattern for 2019,” said Peter Harrington, 2019 President of the Maine Association of Realtors. “The reality is, even with November’s sales decline and the very tight supply of for-sale inventory, the number of homes sold during 2019 is at a statistical dead heat with 2018, Maine’s best year ever for residential real estate sales. The number of Maine homes for sale is 13 percent lower than a year ago, which impacts sales volume.”

“We could sell a $250,000 house every day,” said Scamman. She said locally there seems to be a healthy supply of homes in the $400,000 to $500,000 range — but there is less inventory in the lower price points. She said people are savvy these days, looking frequently at the multiple listing service, and emailing and texting their realtors.

“We have half a dozen clients waiting for the right house,” said Saco North Bean Group Broker Linda Valentino.

Harrington meanwhile, said the winter season won’t likely be a deterrent for sellers or buyers.

“We’re expecting a strong winter market. Serious buyers are searching and life transitions prompt the need to sell and buy homes year-round,” Harrington said.

“People are seriously looking,” said Scamman.

The Valentino and Scamman mother-and daughter team were showing houses on Dec. 14, when Saco got 4.9 inches of rain, and one house went under contract.

“Wind, snow or rain, they’re going to look,” Valentino said.

 

 

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