December Sales Strong:

Maine saw strong double-digit home sales in December 2012. According to the Maine Real Estate Information System (MREIS), statewide sales increased 11.84 percent and the median sales price (MSP) rose 6.25 percent to $170,000. The MSP indicates that half of the homes were sold for more and half sold for less.

Across the United States, sales of single-family existing homes jumped 11.5 percent in December, while the national MSP increased 10.9 percent to $180,300. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), December sales in the Northeast rose 10.3 percent and the regional MSP increased 5.3 percent to $231,600.

Year to Year Shows Gains:

MREIS also just released sales statistics for calendar year 2012.

Realtors sold 11,521 homes in Maine during 2012 - an increase of 17.12 percent over 2011's numbers. The 2012 statewide MSP increased by a solid 3.03 percent for single-family, existing homes.

Nationwide, a preliminary annual sales rise of 9.2 percent has been reported, and a national MSP increase of 6.3 percent to $176,600.

Bart Stevens, this year's president of the Maine Association of Realtors, says, "Many buyers have been sitting on the sidelines waiting for just the 'right' time to begin the homebuying process, and 2012 seemed to offer the right alignments. Declining inventory coupled with historically low interest rates and reasonable home prices made for an attractive time to jump into the market. We saw a steady return of first-time homebuyers and a significant number of move-up buyers. This trend is extending into 2013, with interest rates expected to remain historically low."

Below are sales statistics from MREIS, leading off with statistics for the month of December only, statewide. The county-by-county list compares the full year - 2011 to 2012 - showing the number of existing single-family homes sold (units) and the median sales price (MSP).

Knox County was one of only three counties in the state to see a decrease (3.11 percent) in the median sales price from 2011 to 2012. Nonetheless, at $182,000, Knox County has the fourth highest MSP in the state (Cumberland County ranks at the top, followed by York, Lincoln and then Knox).