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January 29, 2018

Maine home sales in 2017 at 20-year high

Despite tight inventory of single-family existing homes for sale at the beginning of 2017, statewide sales volume for the year ended in positive territory, with a 0.72% increase.

According to Maine Listings, the median sales price for homes sold in 2017 reached $200,000, a 5.6% increase in one year — indicating that half of the homes were sold for more and half sold for less.

Statewide sales for December 2017 were up 2.02% while the statewide median sales price increased 9.19% to $202,000 compared to December 2016.

"2017 was a year of downs and ups," Kim Gleason, broker/owner of McAllister Real Estate in Hallowell and 2018 president of the Maine Association of Realtors, said in a news release. "With tight for-sale inventory for the first six months of 2017, buyers were on the sidelines. As inventory constraints eased, the sales volume was very strong in the third and fourth quarters. The end result is that 2017 had the most single-family residential sales over the 20 years we've been tracking the data.

"Home values showed upward movement throughout 2017 with the statewide annual median sales price also reaching an historical high. The market momentum is in place for a terrific start to 2018."

The National Association of Realtors reported a national sales increase of 1.0% during December, adding that the median sales price of $248,1000 represents a 5.8% rise compared to December 2016. Regionally, sales in the Northeast dipped 2.6% and the regional median sales price rose 3% to $261,400.

Cumberland County posts highest median prices

Median sales price for the year increased in 14 of the state's 16 counties, from a high of 21.05% in Washington County to 2.50% in Lincoln County.

Two of the state's counties showed drops in median sales prices compared to 2016: Aroostook, which posted a 0.30% decline from $82,500 median sales price in 2016 to $82,250 in 2017; and Knox, which posted a 3.77% median sales price decline, from $212,000 in 2016 to $204,000 in 2017.

The highest median price in the state in 2017 was in Cumberland County, at $285,000. That's a 7.55% increase over 2016, which was $265,000. Next-highest median prices were in York at $257,700, up 7.82% from $239,000 in 2016, and Lincoln at $215,250, up 2.50% from $210,000 in 2016.

The county showing the biggest gain in the number of sales for 2017 was Franklin, with a 16.33% rise in sales, 456 in 2017 compared to 392 in 2016. The county showing the largest drop in the number of sales was Lincoln, which posted at 4.87% decline, with 566 sales in 2017 compared to 595 in 2016.

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