Maine homes sales rise 15 percent in June, continuing hot streak

Jul. 22—Existing home sales in Maine continued on a hot streak in June, especially in rural counties, mirroring strong sales nationally, according to data from state and national real estate groups.

High demand from buyers continues to drive sales. More than 1,970 Maine homes changed hands, up almost 15 percent from the previous June, according to data released Thursday by the Maine Association of Realtors.

Median sales prices were up almost 25 percent year-to-year to $210,000. The median sales price indicates that half of houses sold for more and half for less.

The high sales reflect pent-up buyer demand, Aaron Bolster, president of the realtor association, said. Homes across the state continue to go under contract quickly and with multiple offers. The average time a home sat on the market statewide was six days, compared with 14 last June, he said.

Nationally, sales also rose 23 percent from last June and 1.4 percent from May of this year, according to the National Association of Realtors. The median sales price nationally rose 23 percent, compared with last June, to $363,300.

"Home prices are in no danger of a decline due to tight inventory conditions, but I do expect prices to appreciate at a slower pace by the end of the year," Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, said. He said the supply of homes has improved modestly in recent months because of more housing starts and more owners listing their homes.

However, there are some signs of a summer lull coming to some areas, including Portland.

"In the Portland area we are experiencing a summer slowdown, with not as many situations with multiple offers, houses sitting longer and price drops," said Brit Vitalius, founder of Vitalius Real Estate Group in Portland. But he said he expects that to be temporary.

Waldo and Washington counties saw home sales rise more than 70 percent from April through June of this year, compared with the same three months last year. However, Piscataquis and Sagadahoc counties saw sales declines.

The median sales price rose the most in Lincoln County, up 35 percent to $249,800 for the three months.

Cumberland County saw unit sales rise 20 percent to 1,018 units and the median price rise almost 30 percent to $230,000. In Penobscot County, sales rose 25 percent to 525 homes sold for April through June and the median sales price rose 16 percent to $198,000.