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Updated: February 22, 2021

Maine home-sales pricing, volume up by double digits again in January

Courtesy / Maine Listings In the three months ended Jan. 31, the median sales price showed a double-digit increase, with Lincoln and Hancock counties seeing the largest gains.

Buyer demand for Maine’s real estate remained strong last month and for-sale home inventory is again historically low. 

According to Maine Listings, the median price for a single-family existing home in the state rose 15.57% to $255,300 and the number of sales jumped 18.38% in a comparison of January 2021 sales to those in January 2020. 

That was a bit of a drop, though, compared with the numbers in December, when sales across Maine were up 31.53% compared to December 2019, and the statewide median sales price of $270,00 was up 15.38% from the previous year.

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

Still, the growth continues to outpace the numbers of a year ago.

“Residential real estate in 2021 is kicking off in continued positive territory with sales volume and median sold values significantly out-pacing those of a year ago,” Aaron Bolster, broker and owner of Allied Realty in Skowhegan and 2021 president of the Maine Association of Realtors, said in a news release. 

Low inventory

Coming off 2020, the best year ever for sales volume, the industry is struggling with historically low for-sale inventory statewide, he said.

“Buyers are facing far fewer available home choices and sellers are reluctant to list their properties without their next move-in property in place,” Bolster continued. “Buyer demand is strong, and a continuing positive trajectory for 2021 is dependent on homes for sale coming onto the market.”

Single-family home sales and values in Maine have experienced a major surge since the start of the pandemic, even after a dip in the spring.

Comparing each month in 2020 with the same month in 2019, February 2020 showed a 5.75% increase in the number of homes sold, while the median sales price increased 8.45%.

By November, sales of single-family existing homes reached an increase of 31.17% in volume compared to November 2019. Values increased 20% to a median sales price of $270,000. 

During December, sales across Maine were up 31.53% compared to December 2019, and the statewide median sales price of $270,00 was up 15.38% from the previous year.

None of Maine's 16 counties had decreases in either transactions or sales prices from the previous record year of 2019, and the biggest increases in 2020 were in Maine's more rural, less populated counties.

The growth has included dramatic price increases, with houses often selling above list price, multiple bids and an increase of out-of-state buyers

Maine’s record home-buying trends are driven by factors that include pandemic flight, waterfront popularity and luxury home purchases.                                         

Maine Life Real Estate in Scarborough, which measures which towns and cities had the biggest increase in single-family home sales over the previous year, noted that Cumberland and York counties, Maine's two most populated, accounted for 40% of 2020 sales, with six of the year's top 10 hot towns in those two counties.

County data

Piscataquis County saw the largest increase in sales volume, at 82%, according to a comparison of the three-month period from Nov. 1, 2019 through Jan. 31, 2020, to Nov. 1, 2020, to Jan. 31, 2021. In real numbers, that was a volume increase from 67 to 122.

It was followed by Washington County (78.89%) an Aroostook County (70.9%).

Seeing the lowest increases was Cumberland County, at 9.25%.

That was followed by Sagadahoc (18%), Androscoggin and Penobscot counties (19%)

National, regional performance

The National Association of Realtors reported a 23% rise in sales of single-family existing homes across the country comparing January 2021 to January 2020. Home prices jumped 14.8% over January 2020, reaching a national median sales price of $308,300 in January 2021. 

Regionally, sales in the Northeast increased 24.3% and the regional median sales price was up 15.8% to $361,400 comparing January 2021 to January 2020.

“This high demand, low supply dynamic can be challenging for buyers and for sellers,” said Bolster.

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