Home prices continue to rise; housing stock is low



ELLSWORTH —The housing market is tight and getting tighter, according to recently released numbers from the Maine Association of Realtors.

There are fewer homes on the market compared to the same time last year, and this is leading to flat sales and high prices, both in Hancock County and around the state.

“Realtors from all over Maine report that buyers are anxiously ready and waiting for homes to be listed, and sellers are pleased with the pace and pricing in the market,” said Kim Gleason, president of the Maine Association of Realtors, in an April press release.

The median price for a single-family home in Hancock County was $210,000 for the period between Jan. 1 and March 31, an increase of 6 percent over that same timeframe last year, when the cost was $198,000.

The jump was even higher statewide: a single-family home set buyers back $212,000 in March, 11 percent more than the same month last year.

Home prices are often measured by looking at the median sales price, or MSP.

The median is the middle number of a list of numbers arranged in order (high to low or low to high). If the MSP of a list of homes is $200,000, for instance, this means that half of the homes on the list sold for more than $200,000 and half sold for less.

Median price is sometimes used to describe the housing market because it may provide a more reliable indicator than an average, which could be skewed by any outliers, such as the sale of a very expensive (or inexpensive) house.

“We’re seeing upward movement on median sales prices as a result of tight markets in many areas of Maine,” Gleason said.

“For-sale inventory is down 16 percent compared to March 2017 and 39 percent below the for-sale inventory of March 2016.”

Home prices have recovered to where they were in 2005, when a single-family home in Hancock County would set a buyer back around $210,000 (compared to $191,000 statewide).

There were also more homes sold countywide in 2017 (804 changed hands) than in any year since 2005 (sales bottomed out in 2009, when 388 homes were sold).

Home sales in Hancock County were flat between January and March compared to 2017. 135 homes were sold, the same number as last year during that time period.

Kate Cough

Kate Cough

Kate covers the city of Ellsworth, including the Ellsworth School Department and the city police beat, as well as the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Great Pond, Mariaville, Osborn, Otis and Waltham. She lives in Southwest Harbor and welcomes story tips and ideas. She can be reached at [email protected]
Kate Cough

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