Maine experienced positive growth and set new records in the single-family existing homes real estate sector last year. Both sales and sales prices landed in positive territory. According to Maine Listings, a total of 17,864 homes changed hands in 2018—a 1.31 percent increase over 2017. Prices jumped a healthy 7.5 percent to a statewide median sales price of $215,000. The MSP indicates that half of the homes were sold for more and half sold for less.
“The sales year 2018 ended with the highest number of reported residential real estate transactions (17,864) and highest median sales price ($215,000) since we began compiling data 20 years ago,” says Peter Harrington, 2019 president of the Maine Association of REALTORS® and Broker/Partner with Malone Commercial Brokers in Portland.
“That said, fourth quarter --- especially December statistics --- show a decline in the number of transactions, though values remain solid. It’s difficult to gauge a market’s direction during the month of December. The true test will come as we move into the spring selling season.”
The National Association of Realtors reported December-only sales across the country eased 10.1 percent compared to December 2017, while prices rose 2.9 percent to a national MSP of $255,200. Regionally, home sales in the Northeast decreased 6.8 percent in December, and prices increased 8.2 percent to $283,400, comparing December 2018 to December 2017.
“We know that some of Maine’s sales decreases are attributable to the partial government shutdown, which has created consumer uncertainty. The shutdown has delayed or completely suspended some real estate transactions that were in the pipeline for government-guaranteed loans,” adds Harrington. “The USDA Rural Development Program has been non-operational for the entire shutdown and RD-guaranteed loans account for around 10 percent of Maine’s home sale transactions.”