Snow nearly covers a sign Thursday showing a house for sale on a road off North Street in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Low inventory and rising interest rates may have cooled home sales in many markets, but real estate data for 2022 shows some communities in Maine continue to see median sale prices grow, and Augusta and Waterville are among them.

The median sale price for homes in Augusta in 2021 was $200,000, and that swelled to almost $238,000 a year later, according to Maine Real Estate Information Services, which collects figures from real estate agents across the state who have listed properties.

Up Interstate 95 in Waterville, the median sale price increased from $170,000 in 2021 to $200,000. The city also was one of the few in Maine that saw an increase — 2.2% — in the number of units sold.

Lewiston was among other cities seeing a jump in median sale price, increasing from $220,250 to $260,000.

A Scarborough-based realty company, Maine Life Real Estate, recently released a listing of the 10 communities in the state with the biggest increase in sale prices.

Augusta was ranked seventh, with about a 19% increase in median sale price, and Waterville came in at No. 10 with a 17.6% jump. Lewiston was ranked ninth.


Rockland was the hottest market, with a 40% increase. All the other communities in the top 10 were in the far southern portion of the state: Gray, Kennebunk, Kittery, Old Orchard Beach, Waterboro and Westbrook.

Rob Edgerley, founder and CEO of Maine Life Real Estate, said in past years, the top 10 list was compiled based on the number of units sold. But because such sales were down in most places, the company decided to instead use median sale prices as the gauge.

Edgerley said Thursday that several factors have resulted in a competitive real estate market in Maine.

He said the drop in number of units sold and increase to median sale prices are likely because of a lack of housing stock. Maine’s housing crisis is well documented, and with fewer homes available, sales are down overall. And those that are on the market often receive multiple offers, driving up prices.

“We’ve heard of the increase in prices that’s been happening, and a decrease in inventory, which is actually driving the prices up,” Edgerley said.

As of this month, the number of homes sold in Maine is down 36% compared to last year, said Andrew Crawley, associate professor of economics at the University of Maine and founder of the Maine Regional Economic Forecast Lab.


Although the high demand for housing in Maine might attract housing developers to the state, Crawley said a challenge for new development is finding enough workers to build homes. Job vacancies in Maine are high in general, but particularly in the construction field.

And if a major developer is working on projects in multiple states, a decision will likely be made to invest in those states where more workers are available, Crawley said.

Another issue is people are reluctant to move because interest rates are the highest they have been in several years, Edgerley said. Consider someone who owns a home but wants to downsize and buy a new home in Maine. The interest rate on the current home is going to be much lower than the rate on a new mortgage, so the homeowner stays put instead of trying to sell, even though sale prices are high.

There are also concerns about the state of the economy, Crawley said. With so much economic uncertainty in recent years, buying a home is not a purchase many people want to make right now.

“If you believe there’s going to be a recession,” he said, “you probably are not running to immediately try and buy a house right now.”

Edgerley and Crawley said many people are still moving to Maine from other states, several of whom are young professionals who are able to work remotely. But where those workers can live in Maine is more limited, Crawley said, because of unreliable internet in some areas.

Workers are likely moving to areas with reliable internet and other infrastructure, particularly in the southern part of Maine, but as broadband access expands and other infrastructure improves, that trend could change, Crawley said.

“House prices were rising prior to the (COVID-19) pandemic,” he said, “and then, with the onset of the pandemic and a particular push for people moving into more rural areas, I think there was almost a perfect storm in Maine.”

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