Home sales in Maine rose in double digits in March, maintaining a hot streak during the pandemic. This Nov. 24, 2020, file photo shows a home for sale in Bangor. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Single-family home sales in Maine rose by double-digits in March, continuing a hot streak during the coronavirus pandemic and driven by strong sales in rural counties, according to data released Thursday by the Maine Association of Realtors.

Buyers snapped up homes quickly, with the average home being on the market for 11 days this March compared to 48 days last March. That’s also less than the 21 days in February.

More than 1,300 existing single-family homes sold, up 16.8 percent over March 2020. The statewide median sales price was up almost 18 percent to $268,500 compared to March 2020. The median sales price indicates that half of the homes sold for more and half for less.

Maine’s rural counties continued to show the strongest sales jumps, with Piscataquis County up 73 percent to 97 units sold during the first three months of this year compared to those months in 2020. Nine other rural counties saw sales rise more than 40 percent. Lincoln County saw the highest median sales price jump of 53 percent to $349,500.

Cumberland County saw a 3.5 percent drop in units sold to 632 and the median sales price rose 15 percent to $380,000 for the three-month comparison period. Penobscot County saw unit sales rise almost 19 percent to 373 and the median sales price rose almost 19 percent to $173,000.

Maine’s numbers reflect double-digit growth across the U.S. The National Association of Realtors reported a 10.4 percent nationwide increase in unit sales this March compared to March 2020. Prices were up 18.4 percent to $334,500. Regionally, sales in the Northeast jumped 16.9 percent and the regional median sales increased 21.4 percent to $364,800 comparing March 2021 to March 2020.

Lori Valigra, investigative reporter for the environment, holds an M.S. in journalism from Boston University. She was a Knight journalism fellow at M.I.T. and has extensive international reporting experience...