In Maine, homes sales up as prices continue to fall

Posted Oct. 24, 2009, at 7:39 a.m.

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — Sales of single-family existing homes in Maine rose a 22.7 percent in September compared with the same month in 2008, the Maine Real Estate Information System reported Friday.

The median sales price (MSP) of the homes was $167,000 in September, a decrease of 6.05 percent from last September, when it was $177,750. The price highlights an increase in the first-time buyer market. The September median price is an increase from August 2009′s MSP of $162,800.

The median sales price indicates that half of the homes were sold for more and half sold for less.

According to the Maine Real Estate Information System, a subsidiary of the Maine Association of Realtors, a total of 1,139 homes were sold September, compared with 928 in September 2008. For the period of July through September 2009, 3,343 homes were sold, up from 2,915 over the same period a year ago.

Penobscot County saw 385 homes sold, an increase of 21.4 percent. The median price for the homes was $129,000, down 8.5 percent. Cumberland County saw the most sales with 876, up from 709 in 2008. York County was second with 519 July-September sales, up from 487 in 2008, with an MSP of $185,000, a 17 percent decrease over 2008.

That drop placed it third largest in Maine, behind Hancock County (28.3 percent) and Piscataquis County (37.7 percent). All Maine counties except for two saw such price declines. Washington County, with 18 sales for July-September, had a MSP of $126,000, a 63.6 percent increase from 2008. Oxford County had a slight .8 percent increase in MSP.

Piscataquis County had the lowest MSP in the state for sales in the July-September period, $67,250.

National statistics released by the National Association of Realtors indicate a 7.7 percent single-family home sales increase in the past 12 months. The national MSP dipped 8.1 percent to $174,900. Regionally, sales in the Northeast rose 11.8 percent in September 2009. A regional MSP of $234,700 reflects a 7 percent decrease.

In an MREIS press release, Realtor Sheryl Gregory of Homestead Realty in Winthrop said, “Sales have been steady in August and September.” She said first-time homebuyers need to meet the closing deadline of Nov. 30 to take advantage of the $8,000 first time homebuyer tax credit. “This is a real concern that requires quick personal decisions.”

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