Maine home sales fell again in July, the latest sign that the state’s hot market is cooling.
There were 1,691 home sales across the state from July 1-31, a more than 15 percent fall from the same time last year, according to the Maine Association of Realtors. Overall, home sales were down more than 12 percent for the three-month period ending July 31.
“Nearly 1,700 households bought homes in Maine during July,” Madeleine Hill, the president of the Maine Association of Realtors and designated broker at Roxanne York Real Estate in Harpswell, said Thursday.
“Activity over the summer remains steady but impacted by low for-sale inventory; 30 percent fewer single-family homes are for sale than in July 2021 and 66 percent fewer than pre-pandemic July 2019,” Hill said.
That mirrors a broader national decline in home sales, with home sales down 19 percent nationally for the month of July, compared with the same time last year. Meanwhile, July’s sales fell 16 percent across the Northeast, compared with July 2021.
And there are signs that the market could continue cooling as the dog days of summer are left behind. New building permits dropped below 600 in June, lower than May and April and down from 800 the prior June. The Federal Reserve also has signaled it will continue hiking interest rates as inflation remains stubbornly high.
“Sellers and buyers are also adjusting to higher mortgage interest rates. Rate-sensitive buyers are more discerning, and we are beginning to see sellers respond,” Hill said. “Overall, in Maine, it’s still a seller’s market though we’re beginning to see a leveling in some areas as evidenced by higher days on market and downward pricing adjustments.”
Despite sales easing across Maine, home values are still holding strong, reaching a median price of $354,000 in July, a 12.4 percent increase over July 2021, according to the Maine Association of Realtors. For the three-month period ending July 31, the median price for a home in Maine was up 14.5 percent.
On the county level, the most significant increase in median home prices was in Washington County, where the median price has risen 43.7 percent for the three-month period ending July 31, compared with the same time last year. The highest median home price for the period was in Cumberland County, where it reached $506,000.
The median home price rose most slowly in Franklin County, where it jumped 5 percent to $274,400. Aroostook had the lowest median home price overall at $155,000. The median home price rose in every county.
On the sales front, sales were down across the board in between May and July, compared with the same time last year, except for Sagadahoc County where they held steady. Sales fell most sharply in Waldo County, where they are down 34.5 percent.