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Maine home sales fell again in August, while prices rose, but market may be leveling off – Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel

August was yet another month of declining home sales and rising prices in Maine, but real estate agents say the market is starting to level off. 

The number of single-family home sales in Maine declined almost 10 percent la…….

August was yet another month of declining home sales and rising prices in Maine, but real estate agents say the market is starting to level off. 

The number of single-family home sales in Maine declined almost 10 percent last month compared with August 2021, according to figures released by the Maine Association of Realtors on Wednesday.

The statewide median sales price for homes sold last month was $340,000, a 9.7 percent increase from August 2021, but a slight decrease from the July median of $354,000, according to the association’s figures. The median is the price at which half of the homes sold for more money and half sold for less.

Demand for single-family homes in Maine remains strong, and while active for-sale listings are still historically low, they’ve been on an upward swing for the last six months, said Madeleine Hill, a broker with Roxanne York Real Estate in Harpswell and president of the state real estate association. 

About 1,850 homes in Maine changed hands in August, nearly a 25 percent increase from July. 

“With additional for-sale inventory, we’re seeing a leveling in some areas of Maine,” she said. “Buyers are approaching these market trends in a more strategic fashion, with contract contingencies and seller concessions becoming more common.”

Holly Mitchell, an agent with Keller Williams in Portland, is seeing the same.

Inspections, which practically disappeared during the pandemic, are commonplace again. Buyers are asking for repairs or negotiating a little more. They’re taking a little longer to make a decision.

“It’s a little bit more of a reasonable market,” she said. “There’s some give and take.”

Some buyers using government loans, like FHA or VA loans, were previously boxed out of the market, unable to compete with cash offers thousands of dollars over the asking price. But now, sellers are more agreeable to different kinds of financing, allowing buyers to put less money down and still have offers accepted, Mitchell said.

But houses are still selling rapidly and she doesn’t foresee prices falling dramatically anytime soon.

Mitchell also isn’t expecting inventory to increase, especially as interest rates climb.

The average rate included in buyer contracts for a 30-year, conventional fixed-rate mortgage was 5.22 percent in August, down from 5.41 percent in July, according to the National Association of Realtors. 

The relief didn’t last long: Mortgage rates are not only back on the rise, they’re also the highest they’ve been since 2008.

The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate climbed to 6.02 percent last week, according to mortgage buyer …….

Source: https://www.centralmaine.com/2022/09/21/august-home-sales-continue-familiar-trend-of-high-prices-low-sales-but-may-be-leveling-off/

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