Sales of existing single-family homes in Maine rose 7.9 percent in January from a year earlier.

Real estate agents across the state assisted in the sale of 959 homes at a median price of $190,000, up 8.3 percent from a year earlier, according to a news release from the Maine Association of Realtors.

Several factors helped boost January sales, said association President Greg Gosselin, owner and broker of Gosselin Realty Group in York, despite a shortage of homes listed for sale in many areas of Maine.

“Mortgage interest rates remain historically low, households have confidence in their job security, and buyers are searching now in anticipation of moving this spring,” Gosselin said in the release.

The lack of supply relative to demand also drove up prices in nearly all parts of the state.

“In many markets across Maine, buyers need more housing inventory,” Gosselin said. “Statewide, the inventory of ‘for-sale homes’ is 24 percent lower than this time a year ago.”

For the three-month period ending Jan. 31, home sales statewide were up 12.6 percent from a year earlier, and the median sale price was up 6.5 percent to $189,000. The median price indicates that half of homes sold for more and half sold for less.

Waldo County had the biggest percent increase in sales activity during the three-month period, with the number of transactions up 42.7 percent from a year earlier. Sagadahoc County had the biggest decrease, with the number of transactions down 26 percent from a year earlier.

Somerset County had the biggest increase in median price for the three-month period, up 36.7 percent to $110,000 from a year earlier. Hancock County experienced the only decrease in median price, down 1.1 percent to $225,000 from a year earlier.

Nationally, sales of single-family homes rose 3.7 percent in January compared with a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors. The national median sale price reached $230,400 in January, up 7.3 percent from January 2015.

Regionally, sales in the Northeast were up 6.7 percent from a year earlier, the association said, and the regional median price increased by 2.5 percent to $253,800.

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @jcraiganderson

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