For the second consecutive year, single family home sales improved in 2013. Unit sales of 13,101 represented their highest level since 2005, when 14,592 homes were sold – the current record. This was a 13.6% increase over 2012 and a 33.0% cumulative increase since 2011.
The median selling price did not increase as dramatically, but did post a 2.9% annual increase statewide. The median price of $175,000 was at its highest level since reaching $180,000 in 2008 and represented a 6.9% cumulative increase since 2011. As a point of comparison, in 2007 the median price was $194,000 – the current record. The increased sales activity follows several years of significant market decline in both units and pricing, and reflects a level of pent-up demand and improved overall liquidity for both buyers and sellers.
Most counties, especially in Southern Maine, reported similar increases. Most individual towns and cities reported similar unit gains, while pricing was much more variable among many local communities.
Cumberland and York Counties are the two largest real estate segments in Maine and typically combine to represent over 40% of the entire market. Both counties experienced strong growth in 2013 and exceed the state average, as volume was up 15.6% in Cumberland County and 17.8% in York County.
The chart below highlights sales in 2013 and comparisons to 2012 for the entire state and selected counties of Southern Maine.
2013 vs 2012 Home Sales
All housing data has been compiled from research by Maine Home Connection using information from the Maine Real Estate Information System (MREIS).
Condos represented 11.5% of the Maine real estate market in 2013. Unit sales improved 14.3% while pricing improved 2.8%, mirroring results of single family homes. The largest markets for condos are Portland followed by Old Orchard Beach. Pricing varies dramatically depending upon access to and views of the ocean.
According to data from MREIS, home sales improved in eleven of twelve months of 2013 compared to sales in the same month of the previous year. Three months recorded year-over-year gains in excess of 20% while three others were over 15%. The largest month was July, with an increase of 32.5%. Sales in every month of 2013 were higher than comparable months of 2011.
Unlike the previous year, inventory steadily increased throughout 2013, especially over the last six months of the year. Single family home inventory was 10% higher in the 4th quarter compared to the same period of 2012. Homes under contract declined by 14.2% from the 3rd to the 4th quarter of 2013.
Homes priced to reflect current market conditions were sold quickly – often within days. Sellers not reacting to the new market dynamics found that their homes lingered on the market, often well above the median DOM statistics.
Across the state, the overall time to sell a home decreased, as the DOM declined from 90 days in 2012 to 78 in 2013. In southern Maine, the improvement was more significant. Cumberland County recorded a DOM of 46 days, while some communities, like Cape Elizabeth, Portland and South Portland were even better.
Homes in the middle and upper price segments continued to struggle to see sales values recover to the high levels attainted at the height of the market in 2005 and 2006.
Unit sales of homes price above $500,000 increased 22.8% in 2013 while the median priced increased 3.0%. Final selling prices were discounted almost 10% from the initial listing price. In 2012 pricing in this segment increased less than 1%. Homes priced above $1,000,000 increased a dramatic 13.8%, while the MSP declined 2.4%.
Sales of homes priced below $350,000, which represents 85% of all sales, increased 11.6% while pricing improved only 1.9%.
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