Real estate signs for home sales in Bangor, Maine. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

The influx of homebuyers that have boosted sales and home prices in Maine’s rural areas haven’t skipped over Bangor, but Maine’s third largest city has seen the number of sales and sale prices increase more slowly than elsewhere in the state.

Realtors in Bangor have seen homes for sale over the past year get snapped up much more quickly than in prior years. Sellers aren’t necessarily putting more homes on the market, so the increased demand is also driving up sale prices.

“The inventory is very tight right now in Bangor,” said Julie Dawson Williams, owner and CEO of Dawson, Inc., which owns ERA Dawson Bradford Realtors in Bangor. “We are seeing less inventory and a continued surge in buyers brought on by low interest rates.”

Williams pointed to a historically low absorption rate in Bangor, which is how many months it would take to sell all the listings presently available on the market based on the current rate of sales. That means the houses that are available right now are getting purchased much sooner after they first go up for sale than in past years.

“In Bangor in 2018, it would have taken 4.7 months to sell the listing inventory. In 2019, four months. In 2020, 2.9 months,” Williams said. “And this January 2021, the absorption rate is 1.8 months.”

Overall home sales for Bangor for 2020 were up by just a little over 5 percent from 2019’s numbers. According to the Maine Real Estate Information System, which tracks real estate activity across Maine, there were 426 homes sold in Bangor in 2020, compared with 405 in 2019.

Maine as a whole saw an approximately 9 percent increase in the number of properties sold last year, compared to 2019, and the number of out-of-state buyers statewide increased from 25 to 33 percent over that time frame.

The greater demand for homes means prices are also increasing.

The state’s median sale price in 2020 was $256,000, up 13.78 percent from 2019’s $234,000. Bangor’s median home price — though lower than in some of the wealthier enclaves of the state, such as the Portland region and the midcoast — rose to $180,978 from $162,309 in 2019. That’s an increase of approximately 11 percent.

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Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.