Home sales sag 17 percent during June

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AUGUSTA (AP) – As further evidence of Maine’s cooling housing market, home sales dropped 17 percent in June, usually a busy sales period, according to the Maine Association of Realtors.

All told, 265 fewer single-family homes were sold compared to the same period a year ago, but the median sale price edged up slightly, reaching $199,950, up a half a percent, according to the association.

The statistics reflect the national trend of slowing home sales.

Sales of new homes dropped 6.6 percent last month and sales of existing homes dropped dropping 3.8 percent, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

Marc Chadbourne, owner of Century 21 Nason Realty in Winslow and president of the Maine Real Estate Information System Inc., said the dip shows that the market is correcting itself after several years of fast-growing home prices.

“The last two or three years have been boom years,” he said. “That type of activity is not sustainable. Like any market … things tend to go up and then go down and correct themselves, and that’s what we’re seeing.”

For the first half of the year, the number of homes sold in Maine dropped 12.6 percent, and home sales were down in 15 of Maine’s 16 counties.

The only county that showed an increase was Washington County, where 31 homes sold in the first half of the year, up from 23 last year.

Nationally, sales of new homes are now 22.3 percent below where they were a year ago and analysts said this slide is likely to continue. For June the inventory of unsold new homes was unchanged at 537,000 units, still high by historical standards.

Sheryl Gregory, former president of the Maine Association of Realtors, said Mainers should view this downward trend in the proper perspective. “Even though we’re down, we’re way ahead of where we were several years ago.” she said.

She said she does not think the market will continue to slow in 2008.

“I think most of the correction is going to occur this year,” she said. “I think next spring will be excellent. I think the market will have stabilized.”



Information from: Kennebec Journal, http://www.kjonline.com/

AP-ES-07-28-07 1341EDT

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