A home for sale on Tucker Avenue in Portland in this Sept. 14, 2021, file photo. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Sales of existing single-family homes in Maine were down almost 5 percent in August compared to the previous year, a sign that the hot real estate market may be leveling off, according to a state real estate group.

That’s the second month in a row in which the sales were down year-over-year. The median sales price was up compared to a year ago but down compared to July’s figure.

Some 2,063 homes changed hands in August, according to the Maine Association of Realtors data released Wednesday. The median sales price was up almost 15 percent to $310,000 over the previous August. The median sales price indicates that half of the homes sold for more and half for less.

 

Some potential buyers are taking a break from the market and some who had marginally qualified for homes no longer do, according to the association.

“With fewer potential buyers involved in multiple offer situations, the upward pricing pressure may slow,” Aaron Bolster, president of the association, said.

With the August sales decline, the volume of homes sold moved below pre-pandemic levels in August 2019. In July sales also declined about 5 percent but were still above pre-pandemic levels.

 

Bolster said sales in the fourth quarter of this year will show whether the decline in August is just a blip or the beginning of the market balancing itself.

Piscataquis County saw the largest decline in home sales of almost 29 percent to 104 units from June through August of 2021 compared to the same three months the year before. Somerset, York, Lincoln and Kennebec counties also saw sales declines.

Franklin County saw the largest sales rise of more than 24 percent for the comparable three months, while Androscoggin, Knox and Washington counties saw double-digit increases.

The median sales price rise was the highest in Knox County at more than 39 percent to $355,000 for the three-month comparison period. All Maine counties saw double-digit increases except Washington County, which was up just over 1 percent.

Maine’s sales decline reflects national trends. The National Association of Realtors reported a 2.8 percent sales decline year-over-year for existing single-family homes in August. Prices rose more than 15 percent to reach a median sales price of $363,800. The Northeast experienced an almost 3 percent decrease in sales while the median sales price rose almost 17 percent to $407,800.

 

Lawrence Yun, chief economist with the national association, said buyers are still searching for homes, but they are being more measured about their financial limits and are waiting for more homes to come on the market.