New figures show home sales and prices in Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties continue to grow.

A report released Tuesday by Maine Listings, a subsidiary of the Maine Association of Realtors, shows the statewide upward trend for real estate continues, and central and western Maine are among the counties seeing the most growth.

For the three months ending Aug. 31, Franklin County saw the largest percentage increase in the median sales price of homes, rising 29.5% from the same period in 2019. The median price grew from $150,000 to $194,250.

Statewide, growth in August alone was 17% compared to August 2019.

At the same time, Androscoggin County’s numbers jumped yet again, with sales prices up 17% over the same period last year. The median price during the period was $216,611 compared to $185,000 last year.

For the period ending June 30, the median sale price in Androscoggin County rose nearly 14%, with a median price of $191,500.

Tom Cole, president of the Maine Association of Realtors, said Wednesday that the upward trend is still being driven by low inventory and historically low interest rates coupled with a higher demand driven by the pandemic and out-of-state buyers.

He said sales to out-of-state buyers increased by 9.7% from August 2019, making up about one-third of transactions.

As the markets shift, Cole said first-time homebuyers may be looking into counties in central and western Maine due to affordability, space and increased quality of life. With lower interest rates, first-time buyers may be able to find a home with mortgage payments similar to what they paid in monthly rent.

“People are looking in areas that they might not have normally looked in,” he said. “They’re saying this is a great place to live and we’re going to save money as compared to somewhere else like Cumberland County.”

But, Cole said, despite the particular growth in sales prices in those counties, the growth “truly is a statewide” trend.

“It’s indicative of what’s happening across the state,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen this much activity statewide in 21 years in real estate.”

For Oxford County, the median home price increased nearly 16%, from $168,500 to $195,000. Oxford also saw an 11% increase in units sold. The number of units sold increased by 4% in Androscoggin County, but decreased by almost 6% in Franklin County.

Cole said while prices have been rising, the low interest rates have made purchasing a home more affordable for most people.

Last month, Lewiston-Auburn based real estate agents told the Sun Journal that they have seen activity they’ve never seen in the area: multiple offers within days, many of which are over asking price.

Auburn officials looking at the trends have already jumpstarted planning to increase the city’s housing stock to meet the demand, especially as the state has low inventory.

According to the Portland Press Herald, the statewide inventory of single-family homes listed for sale has been declining steadily over the past decade. The Maine Listings data estimates the current supply of properties on the market would take 2.6 months to exhaust. In the summer of 2010, it would have taken 23 months to sell through all the available listings.

 

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