Maine's real estate market continues to cool, following national trends. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Lack of supply and rising mortgage rates will keep uncertainty alive in Maine’s housing market in 2023, but price breaks and other trends emerged early in the year that gave buyers more negotiating power.

“The days are gone when buyers were widely willing to drop home inspections and other contingencies,” Attom Data Solutions wrote in its national housing report released Friday. “It’s not a buyer’s market at this writing, but at least purchasers are sensing that some bargaining may be possible.”

The real estate data tracking firm predicted that will be enough to entice millions of potential buyers nationwide to take advantage of good conditions when they emerge.

Here are five trends in Maine would-be homebuyers and sellers should watch.

New listings continue to fall.

The dearth of new listings is keeping prices high and limiting choices for buyers. The number of new homes listed in January was down 53 percent over the year before, according to Redfin.

There were 403 newly listed homes in Maine in January. That is out of a total of 2,666 homes for sale across the state, down almost 6 percent from the previous year. Some economists attribute the lackluster new listings to cautious owners staying put in an uncertain economy.

Fewer homes sold above list price.

Almost 27 percent of homes in Maine sold above list price, according to Redfin. That’s down 15 percentage points from last January. Real estate agents said properties in desirable neighborhoods still get multiple bids, but those also are becoming less common.

More homes had price drops.

Some 19 percent of homes in Maine had price decreases in January, Redfin said. That’s up 7 percentage points from a year ago. The rising share indicates sellers are struggling more to attract buyers.

That could mean the market is cooling off, that sellers are pricing their homes too high or both. In any case, it is one piece of good news for buyers.

Homes are taking almost twice as long to sell.

Days to sell a home is another indicator that favored buyers in January. It took an average of 50 days to sell a home in Maine in January, Redfin says. That’s 29 days longer than last year. The longer it takes to sell a home, the less competition there is. That gives buyers more time and control during the purchase.

Home values are still rising.

The average Maine home value in January was 10 percent higher than last year at $345,245, according to online real estate market Zillow.

That’s mixed news. New buyers will pay more this year, but those who bought last year are seeing their investment grow, a trend that could continue this year.