A home for sale sits on the corner of Graham Avenue and Boutelle Road in Bangor in this 2011 file photo. Credit: John Clarke Russ / BDN

Maine’s real estate market remains hot, with sales of existing homes rising by double digits in October thanks to out-of-state buyers and low interest rates, according to data released by the Maine Association of Realtors on Thursday.

Statewide, 2,341 existing single-family homes sold last month, up almost 27 percent from the prior October. The median sales price at $280,000 was up almost 25 percent. The median sales price indicates that half of the homes were sold for more and half sold for less.

Maine’s lower incidence of COVID-19 compared to the rest of the country and the increase in teleworking has created more demand from out-of-state buyers, Tom Cole, the association’s president, said. Historically, about 25 percent of monthly home purchases in Maine are by out-of-state buyers. That number rose to 36 percent in October.

Sales since January are up 5.6 percent over the comparable 10 months in 2019, putting real estate sales on pace to reach their best year ever, Cole said. Inventory remains tight, which is increasing prices, and mortgage rates remain low, which has increased competition among buyers, he said.

Hancock County saw the highest unit sales rise of 56 percent to 411 homes sold from August through October of this year compared to the same three months last year. Cumberland County home sales were up 14 percent to 1,410, and Penobscot County’s were down almost 1 percent to 628 homes.

Prices across almost all of Maine’s 16 counties rose in the double digits. Washington County saw the highest median sales price rise during the three-month comparison period by 39 percent to $168,500. The median sales price was up close to 19 percent in Cumberland County to $386,250 and in Penobscot County it was up 17 percent to $178,500.

Maine’s hot market reflects high national sales. The National Association of Realtors reported a national sales increase of 26.7 percent last month, while the median sales price rose 16 percent to $317,700.