A for sale sign is posted near a home in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023. Credit: Matt Rourke / AP

Maine home sales remained lower than a year ago as buyers continued to face increasing mortgage rates and a low for-sale inventory.

Buyers scooped up 858 homes in March, which represents a 16.8 percent decline, compared with March 2022, according to the Maine Association of Realtors. That shows a slower decline in home sales than the month before, when the housing market saw a nearly 20 percent decrease in sales in March 2023, compared with March 2022.

Meanwhile, the median sales price for a Maine home rose nearly 4 percent to $337,500, compared with March 2022.

Carmen McPhail, the president of the Maine Association of Realtor and associate broker at family-owned United Country Lifestyle Properties of Maine, which has offices in Lincoln, Bangor and Lubec, said Thursday that buyers are adjusting to increased mortgage rates and are actively searching for homes.

“The tight for-sale inventory, while bolstering sales prices overall, has

contributed to the rate of statewide price growth slowing” McPhail said.

The fall in home sales here mirrors a broader decline in the Northeast and across the country.

Nationally, home sales fell 21.1 percent in March 2023, compared with the same time the year before. In the Northeast, home sales were down 21.2 percent in March 2023, compared with the previous March, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Despite increasing prices in Maine, the median sales prices for homes have fallen nationally, by 1.4 percent. However median prices in the Northeast have risen slightly, with a 1 percent increase over prices during March 2022.

McPhail noted that the market right now is favorable for people looking to sell, with new listings bolstering the low for-sale inventory.

On the county level, the most significant increase in median home prices was in Androscoggin County, where the median price has risen 19.3 percent for the three-month period ending March 31, compared with the same time last year. The highest median home price for the period was in Cumberland County, where it reached $470,000.

The median home price rose most slowly in Franklin County, where it actually fell 10 percent to $225,000. Aroostook had the lowest median home price overall at $129,900. The median home price rose in all but six counties.

On the sales front, sales were down across the board between January 2023 and March 2023, compared with the same time last year. Sales fell most sharply in Lincoln County, where they are down 45 percent. The smallest drop was in Piscataquis County, where they fell 4.8 percent.

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Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.