Home sales fall in Maine

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SOUTH PORTLAND (AP) – Home sales slumped in Maine for the second year in a row in 2006, while the median sales price was flat, according to statistics released Friday by the Maine Association of Realtors.

The association, which tracks sales of homes by licensed real estate agents, said 13,359 single-family homes were sold in Maine last year, down 7.2 percent from 2005. The median sales price was $192,519, up 0.8 percent from a year earlier.

Maine’s numbers mirrored the national trend. Home sales nationwide fell 8.1 percent in 2006, while the median sales price rose 1.4 percent to $222,0000, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Alan Peoples, president of Home Sellers of Maine, said the downturn is good for the real estate industry in the long run after years of sharp upward sales. Sellers now need to base their asking prices on current competition rather than past sales, he said.

“It’s all good for buyers, as they have a good number of homes from which to choose, the interest rates are low, and sellers are more motivated than they have been in the past,” he said.

Home sales in Cumberland County fell 8.4 percent last year, while the median price stayed flat at $250,000, according to the association. Home sales also fell in other populous counties, including York, Penobscot, Kennebec and Androscoggin.

At the same time, home sales were up 36 percent in Piscataquis County, 31 percent in Aroostook County and 18 percent in Washington County.

The highest median sales price in 2006 was in Cumberland County. The lowest-priced homes were in Aroostook County, where the median price was $80,000.

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