Rick BissonAccording to the Maine Association of Realtors, a short supply of homes for sale statewide caused a decrease in March sales.

Data released shows 1,156 homes sold across Maine’s 16 counties during March 2018 – a decrease of 9.18 percent when compared to March 2017. With strong demand from a healthy supply of buyers for a limited supply of homes, March’s median sales price was up 10.99 percent to $212,000 over March 2017.

The president of the Maine Association of Realtors said, “For-sale inventory is down 16 percent compared to March 2017 and 39 percent below the for-sale inventory of March 2016. Realtors from all over Maine report that buyers are anxiously ready and waiting for homes to be listed, and sellers are pleased with the pace and pricing in the market.”

Maine’s home sale trends in March were mirrored across most parts of the nation. According to the National Association of Realtors, total existing home sales rose 1.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.60 million in March from 5.54 million in February. Despite last month’s increase, sales are still 1.2 percent below a year ago.

Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors chief economist, says closings in March eked forward despite challenging market conditions in most of the country.

“Robust gains last month in the Northeast and Midwest – a reversal from the weather-impacted declines seen in February – helped overall sales activity rise to its strongest pace since last November at 5.72 million,” said Yun.

“The unwelcoming news is that while the healthy economy is generating sustained interest in buying a home this spring, sales are lagging year ago levels because supply is woefully low and home prices keep climbing above what some would-be buyers can afford.”

The national median existing-home price for all housing types in March was $250,400, up 5.8 percent from March 2017 ($236,600). March’s price increase marks the 73rd straight month of year-over-year gains.

Total national housing inventory at the end of March climbed 5.7 percent to 1.67 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 7.2 percent lower than a year ago and has fallen year-over-year for 34 consecutive months. Unsold inventory is at a 3.6-month supply at the current sales pace. It was 3.8 months a year ago.

“Realtors throughout the country are seeing the seasonal ramp-up in buyer demand this spring but without the commensurate increase in new listings coming onto the market,” said Yun.

“As a result, competition is swift and homes are going under contract in roughly a month, which is four days faster than last year and a remarkable 17 days faster than March 2016.”

Regionally, March existing-home sales in the Northeast jumped 6.3 percent to an annual rate of 680,000, but are still 9.3 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $270,600, which is 3.3 percent above March 2017.

Looking at our Midcoast region for the first quarter of 2018 compared to first quarter of 2017, unit sales in Sagadahoc County were 77 – down 9.41 percent. The median home sales price was up .05 percent to $200,000. Of the 275 total listings, 155 are currently available for sale and 103 are under contract for a 39.92 percent pending ratio. The average days on market was 64 days – down from 75 days in 2017.

In Lincoln County, first quarter sales decreased 7.07 percent with 92 homes sold and the median home sales price was down 4.44 percent to $215,000. In all, Lincoln County has 426 total homes actively for sale – down from 539 in 2017. The pending ratio is 24.41 percent with 104 under contract. The average days on market was 116 days.

Knox County’s first quarter unit sales were down 13.27 percent with 98 homes sold. The median home sales price increased 4.87 percent to $199,250. Of the 466 total homes for sale – down from 525 in 2017, 94 are under contract and 372 are currently available for sale resulting in a pending ratio of 20.17 percent. The average days on market was 85 days – down from 141 in 2017.

Sales in Cumberland County were down 5.01 percent and the median home sales price was up 12.31 percent to $296,500 in the first quarter. There are 1,605 total listings – down from 1,935 in 2017, 825 are available for sale and 780 are under contract for a pending ratio of 48.60 percent. The average days on market was 35 days.

On April 24, the state of Maine had 8,138 active listings available for sale and 3,202 under contract, resulting in a pending ratio of 28.15 percent. The average days on market in March was 70 days.

If evidence is persuasive, the increase in home prices and shortened supply of homes for sale are a strong case for now possibly being the best time to sell your home for top dollar.

And if you’re planning to buy, now may be the best time to lock-in on a low interest rate. Whether you’re thinking about buying, selling or investing in real estate, talk with your trusted, expert Realtor for the best advice.

 

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