SOUTH PORTLAND (AP) – Existing home sales in Maine fell last month by 17.2 percent in July from the same period a year ago.

The Maine Real Estate Information System, which monitors home sales, says median prices also dropped, by 3.5 percent. All told, Maine real estate agents sold 1,032 homes last month, down from 1,247 a year ago. The median price dropped from $199,000 to $192,000 during the same period.

Nationwide, sales of existing homes rose, surpassing expectations, as buyers snapped up deeply discounted properties in parts of the country hit hardest by the housing bust.

However, the number of unsold properties hit an all-time high, the latest indication that the worst housing slump in decades is far from over. Prices nationwide are not expected to hit bottom until early next year.

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