According to the Maine Association of Realtors, sales of single-family existing homes across the state increased 2.54 percent in June 2018 over the previous June. Home values experienced double-digit gains with a 10.98 percent jump in the median sales price to $227,500. Throughout the state, in what typically is the busiest month — June — 1,937 homes were sold. Sales during the first six months of 2018 are nearly 2 percent ahead of the first six months of 2017.

Figures released last week by the National Association of Realtors reveal a slightly different picture than Maine’s. Taken as a whole, sales across the country dropped in June 2.3 percent from last June. A lack of available homes for sale continues to be a focal point for declining numbers. This ongoing supply and demand imbalance helped push June’s national median sales price up 5.2 percent to a new all-time high of $279,300. June’s price increase marks the 76th straight month of national year-over-year gains.

Total existing-home sales nationally decreased 0.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.38 million in June from a downwardly revised 5.41 million in May. With last month’s decline, sales are now 2.2 percent below a year ago. 

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said closings inched backwards in June and fell on an annual basis for the fourth straight month. 

“There continues to be a mismatch since the spring between the growing level of homebuyer demand in most of the country in relation to the actual pace of home sales, which are declining,” Yun said. “The root cause is without a doubt the severe housing shortage that is not releasing its grip on the nation’s housing market. What is for sale in most areas is going under contract very fast and in many cases, has multiple offers. This dynamic is keeping home price growth elevated, pricing out would-be buyers and ultimately slowing sales.”

The nation’s total housing inventory at the end of June climbed 4.3 percent to 1.95 million existing homes available for sale, which is 0.5 percent above a year ago — the first year-over-year increase since June 2015. Unsold inventory is at a 4.3-months supply at the current sales pace. It was at 4.2 months a year ago.

Properties typically stayed on the market for 26 days in June, unchanged from the last three months and down from 28 days a year ago. Fifty-eight percent of homes sold in June were on the market for less than a month.

Regionally, home sales in the Northeast eased 4 percent over the past year while the regional median sales price increased 3.3 percent to $305,900. Existing-home sales in June in the Northeast jumped 5.9 percent to an annual rate of 720,000, still 4 percent below a year ago.

Looking at our Midcoast region for the second quarter of 2018 compared to second quarter of 2017, 142 homes were sold in Sagadahoc County, down 1.43 percent. The median home sale price was up 7.18 percent to $235,000. Of the 318 total listings in Sagadahoc County, 198 are currently available for sale and 120 are under contract for a 37.73 percent pending ratio. The average days on market was 29 days.

In Lincoln County, second quarter sales decreased 17.57 percent with 122 homes sold, and the median home sale price was up 15.84 percent to $221,500. In all, Lincoln County has 451 total homes actively for sale. The pending ratio is 31.26 percent with 141 under contract. The average days on market was 97 days.

Knox County’s second quarter unit sales were up 6.21 percent with 171 homes sold. The median home sale price increased 17.02 percent to $245,750. Of the 573 total homes for sale, 103 are under contract and 470 are currently available for sale resulting in a pending ratio of 17.98 percent. The average days on market was 94 days.

Sales in Cumberland County were up 7.52 percent and the median home sale price was up 5.74 percent to $312,000 in the second quarter. There are 2,177 total listings in Cumberland County — 1,315 are available for sale and 862 are under contract for a pending ratio of 39.60 percent. The average days on market was 10 days.

On July 26, the state of Maine had 10,610 active listings available for sale and 3,877 under contract, resulting in a pending ratio of 26.76 percent. The average statewide days on market in June was 21 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. If you’re planning to buy, now may be the best time to lock-in 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.

This column is produced by Rick Bisson and his family, who own Bisson Real Estate with Keller Williams Realty of Midcoast and Sugarloaf. They can be reached at:
[email protected]