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Markets in Greater Portland on the Rebound

By Kate Hodgson

Portland Head LightI have compiled the information in this report to help my clients stay informed about market trends and to help them make critical decisions while navigating the Greater Portland real estate market.  Data are gathered from records on the Maine Real Estate Information Service (MREIS) also known as the multiple listing service (MLS).  The report presents information from 1998 forward as records prior to that are less reliable

The information is consolidated into 4 categories based on market trends: 1. Portland and South Portland single family homes; 2. Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Scarborough and Yarmouth single family homes and condos; 3. Gorham, Gray, Westbrook and Windham single family homes and condos; and 4. Portland and South Portland condos.

Please note: for simplicity I will refer to the first quarter as Q1 and so on.

General trends in Q1 2012:

The big story of 2012 so far is the lack of inventory.  Sales are up and inventory is down but an increase in prices has not yet followed because of the continuing impact of distress sales on the market.

 

Interest rates are still low but leaning upwards and investors are trawling for opportunities with the increased confidence that a market recovery is underway.

 

Some areas of the country are reporting a shift to a sellers’ market.  Portland and South Portland show signs of moving in that direction and the ripple effect will start to show in the outlying areas.  Additionally, colleagues have been reporting on an increase in multiple offers.

There is still a high level of distressed property on the market keeping a price increase at bay but that will change if current trends continue.

The notable exception to this trend is the condo market where sales have slumped.

1. Sales:

Sales have increased in all the areas observed.

In Portland and South Portland the number of single family homes sold in Q1 rose to 112, up from 98 in 2011.

In Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Scarborough, and Yarmouth, the number of properties sold in Q1 climbed to 132 up from 105 last year and the highest level since 2007.

In Gorham, Gray, Westbrook and Windham, the number of properties sold stayed fairly close to the level in 2011 at 119 units sold.

 

 

2. Inventory:

While sales have gone up, inventory has gone down; creating the best ratio between the two that we have seen in 5 years or more.

In Portland and South Portland the ratio dropped to 1.73 new listings for every property sold, down from 2.04 in 2011, and almost matching the 15 year average.

In Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Scarborough and Yarmouth there were 1.91 new listings for every property sold, down substantially from 2.41 in Q1 2011, below the 15 year average, and the best ratio since 2005.

In Gorham, Gray, Westbrook, and Windham the ratio was 2.14 new listings for every property sold in Q1 2012, down from 2.28 last year but above the 15 year average.

 

 

3. Prices:

Sales are up, inventory is down, but an increase in prices has not yet followed.

In Portland and South Portland the average sale price declined 7% from the previous year.

In Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Scarborough and Yarmouth the average sale price remained largely unchanged.

In Gorham, Gray, Westbrook and Windham the average sale price also remained unchanged from last year.

Foreclosures and short sales are still keeping prices from gaining traction.  Many pundits have predicted an increase in prices by the end of this year or into 2013.

4. Days on Market (DOM):

The number of days it is taking a property to sell has remained high, again a reflection of the number of short sales on the market and the length of time they take to work through the system.

For example, of the 34 properties identified as distressed sales that sold in the first quarter of 2012 (9% of the market), the average Days on Market was 155, significantly higher than the average for all other sales at 115.  It is also worth noting that distress sales sold for an average of 89% of the list price at time of sale, 84% of the original list price.

Condos (Portland and South Portland):

The condo market in greater Portland. .bucking all the favorable trends: sales are down, inventory is up, and the average sales price continues to swing rather dramatically.

 

In Q1 2012 the number of sales dropped slightly from 51 in Q1 2011 to 45 in Q1 2012 and the number of new listings rose slightly from 114 to 119.  The average sale price slumped from $259,040 to $199,652, down 30% from Q1 of last year.

 

As of April 8, 2012 there are 216 condos currently on the market in Portland and South Portland with 48 under contract, or 22% of inventory.

Multi-units (2-4 unit properties in Portland, South Portland, Westbrook):

Multi-units are following the favorable trend with a big drop in new listings, an increase in sales, and very low inventory.  There were 40 new listings in Q1 2012, down significantly from 67 in Q1 2011 and the lowest number in the last 15 years. The number of sales increased from 20 in Q1 2011 to 37 in Q1 in 2012.  This brought the ratio of new listings to units sold down to 1.08.

 

The average sale price increased 4% and the average price reduction was 95% of the list price at time of sale. The average Days on Market was 93.

As of April 8, 2012 there are 84 2-4 unit properties on the market in Portland, South Portland, and Westbrook, with 23 of those under contract, or 27% of current inventory.


Greater Portland 2011 Year in Review

By Kate Hodgson
So how did we fare in 2011? And where are we going in 2012?

The Greater Portland real estate market recorded the lowest number of sales in over 14 years in 2011. But the news is not all bad. The market continues to stabilize and as sales have declined so too has inventory. The ratio of new listings to properties sold has steadily decreased to 1.85 since a peak of 2.10 in 2008.  Despite the sluggish sales, 2011 ended in a strong position with noticeable improvement in the fourth quarter both locally and nationally.

The Greater Portland market saw an 8% increase in the number of single family homes and Portland condos sold in the fourth quarter from the same quarter last year.

This reflected the positive news being reported nationally.  According to a WSJ online 12/21/11 report, residential construction “surged in November, pushing housing starts to… the highest level in 19 months”. Additionally, the National Association of Realtors, reported that existing home sales rose in November.

As for 2012, the predictions swing in every direction.

Nationally:

Franklin American, in their electronic newsletter, summed up the outlook for 2012:

The New Year is here. Of course, now we are inundated with predictions regarding what will happen in the coming year. If you read 100 predictions, you would get 100 different scenarios. For example, in October Fannie Mae predicted that rates on home loans would fall in the first half of next year, while Freddie Mac forecasted an increase in rates. In addition, Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan rated the chance of a recession at 40% next year while Freddie Mac predicts that economic growth will likely strengthen to about 2.5% in 2012. More recently, a survey of 20 top economists conducted by CNN/Money predicted the risk of a recession next year at only 20% next year. This survey expected the fourth quarter growth rate to be the strongest of the year with over a 3.0% growth rate, but grow to slow to an annual rate of 2.4% next year.

 

Slow growth next year but no new recession? Sounds like a replay of this year. Our advice? Don’t get lost in predictions. Most of the time they are a reflection of what already has happened. Right now we have very positive trends with increased consumer confidence confirmed by the Conference Board’s survey released last week… The real question is, will these trends continue into next year or do we fall back into our ‘starts and stops’ pattern of economic recovery? If you want a clue to that question, watch the employment trends.

 

Rising rents are forcing renters to outspend home owners on housing costs, according to a recent study. Since 2005, home owners’ housing expenses have climbed from 31.9 percent of their household budget to 33.2 percent. On the other hand, in that same time period, renters’ expenses have jumped from 35.6 percent to 38.4 percent, according to the October CoreLogic U.S. Housing Trends.  Source: RISMedia

 

The Greater Portland market:

Last year, Housingpredictor.com, an independent real estate news website, touted Portland as one of the top 3 markets for growth nationwide. Sadly, it doesn’t even make the top 25 this year. Their reasons:

“Extraordinarily sluggish home sales and slowly declining home prices are preventing Maine housing markets from making a full-fledged recovery, but cities and towns throughout the state are hardly experiencing a major drop in home values either.

Maine is turning out to be one of the safest bets so far in the fallout of the U.S. real estate collapse. A slim volume of sales is hand-cuffing the markets and are expected to chill the region’s home sales at a slow pace through 2012.

National headlines over the foreclosure crisis and falling home values have hurt Maine housing markets more than anything else. Housing sales in most of the state have been sluggish but have remained consistent through the U.S. downturn – just not many sales compared to most other regions of the country. Less than 1,000 homes sell in an average month statewide.

While sales move at a snails pace, the number of homes being sold monthly are creeping up as prices decline only marginally. However, home sales are projected to increase in Portland as new home buyers take advantage of record low mortgage interest rates. The influx of retirees to the region is also helping to boost the market. But home values are forecast to drop slight during the year averaging 2.6% less.”

On the other hand, CNN Money, which tracks 384 markets throughout the US, predicts a 4.5% increase in home prices for the Greater Portland market.

My own opinion is that 2012 will be much like 2011. Sales will continue to be sluggish until the end of the year. Distress sales will keep prices from gaining real traction although I predict they will appreciate slightly as buyers seize the opportunity of low interest rates and sense an end to the bottom of the market. Low interest rates will continue to fuel buyer interest although mortgages will remain bridled by strict lending practices.

Unless we hit a snag (i.e. consumer confidence lags, employment rate stalls, or we experience an environmental disaster), 2012 will remain slow but steady. However, with continued stabilization, we will start to see appreciable change in late 2012 or 2013.


Chandlers Wharf – Condo Complex in Portland ME

Chandlers Wharf CondosPortland’s Chandlers Wharf condominiums offer a rare opportunity to live downtown directly on the waterfront and feature excellent views of Casco Bay. Units are approximately 1750 sq ft laid out in a ranch or townhouse style floor plan. Chandlers Wharf condos feature modern amenities in the charming Old Port area of Portland.  Portland Condos at Chandlers Wharf range price from 300K – 900K, with a median price of $429K.

The convenient location in downtown Portland is within walking distance of all key points in the city, including some of the area’s finest restaurants. The complex offers shared parking for cars – to learn about the specific features and regulations at Chandlers Wharf, and more condo associations in downtown Portland ME contact John Herrigel directly at 207.650.5383 or by email at herrigelgroup@gmail.com


Boothbay Harbor Maine Town Feature

lighthouse in Boothbay Harbor METhe coastal Maine town of Boothbay Harbor is rich in history and culture. The traditional occupations of lobstering, fishing, and shipbuilding remain popular. Houses for sale in Boothbay Harbor Maine are priced at an average of 327K, with waterfront homes pricing at an average of 588K. Through the past year, homes in Boothbay Harbor have sold at an average of 250K.

Located on a peninsula between the Sheepscot river and Damariscotta river, Boothbay Harbor is known for hospitality, and tourism. The town has a significant summer population and many amenities for tourists enjoying the Boothbay Harbor Region.

If you would like to learn about current real estate listings in Boothbay Harbor ME, or in listings in neighboring towns, visit the Herrigel Group – experts in coastal and southern Maine real estate. Or contact John Herrigel by phone at 207-650-5383 or by email at johnherrigel@gmail.com


Portland ME Condo Update for December

Christmas Wreath13 condos sold in the Portland Maine housing market during November 2011. This was the same number as last year at this time. At an average price of 215K, condos in Portland appreciated year over year by 40%. The average number of days on the market for condos that sold in November in Portland was 41 – about half the number of days for houses sold during the same time period.

To see the historical charm of West End neighborhood in Portland, check out the Victoria Mansion Deck the Halls holiday tour until Jan. 8th in Portland for a fun and educational look at Victorian era life and Christmas festivities.

For more information on Portland Maine condos for sale, and living in southern Maine, visit the Herrigel group at myMaineProperty.com – we specialize in Portland Maine homes and condos for sale. For the fastest response contact John Herrigel directly by phone at 207-650-5383 or by email at johnherrigel@gmail.com


Chestnut Lofts Condo Complex in Portland ME

Chestnut Street LoftsChestnut Lofts units feature stylish open concept interior, a rarity in Portland. Each unit has concrete floors, and is customized by owner to include half walls and partitions. Located in Downtown Portland this convenient location is within walking distance of all key points in the city, and it even includes on-site parking. Chestnut Lofts units range in size and price, from the 200’s to 500K.

Chestnut Lofts condos offer a variety of options for your downtown Portland ME home. To learn about the specific features and regulations of condos at Chestnut Lofts, and more condo associations in downtown Portland ME visit the Herrigel Group – mymaineproperty.com today, or contact John Herrigel directly at 207.650.5383 or by email: herrigelgroup@gmail.com


Portland Maine Condo Market Update – December 2011

Conod ComplexCurrently the condo market in Portland Maine has 114 condos currently listed for sale and offered at a median price point of $215,000.  Overall the condo market in Portland continues to improve with multiple  To Be Built luxury Portland condos slated to come on the market in the near future. The baby boomer population continues to propel this market segment forward as with a great downtown within walking distance from  most neighborhood such as the West End or East End parties looking to relocate to Maine can have restaurants, culture and more  at fraction of the cost of similar cities in America.

As of today.. 179 condos have sold in Portland in 2011 at a median sold price point of 217K.  With sold prices matching asking prices.. the market remains very stable and if a condo is priced right it is selling with a few weeks. However, if a property is over priced.. it is not uncommon for it to sit on the market for an extended period of time whilst seeing little buyer interest.

Going forward expect this market segment to improve given the small supply and strong demand for condos in Portland Maine.

Thanks for reading and please reach out anytime for more information on the current housing market.


3rd quarter housing results for greater Portland Maine

Thanksgiving by FlickrHappy almost T-day!  As we enter the holiday season the greater Portland Maine real estate markets continue to show stability and resilience with transaction volume up by double digits in all 4 counties we follow..including York, Cumberland,  Sagadahoc and Lincoln.  The brightest spot in the market continues to remain the city of Portland itself and thus the entire greater Portland market.  Year over year prices remained stable with the median price clocking in at 215K.. exactly where is was a year prior.  Unfortunately the mid coastal real estate market continues to see downward pressure on pricing with values down 10% in the 3rd quarter 2011 for Sagadahoc county. View the full Maine housing report here.

3rd Quarter 2011 Maine Housing Results.

Transactions Prices DOM
2011 2010 Change 2011 2010 Change 2011 2010 Change
York 616 540 14% 210 214 -2% 79 74 7%
Cumberland 920 820 12% 223 222 0% 60 62 -3%
Sagadahoc 97 79 23% 163 183 -11% 46 86 -47%
Lincoln 109 92 18% 160 198 -19% 126 103 22

View the full Maine Association of  Realtors press release here

 


Greater Portland real estate statistical report for Q3 2011

By Kate Hodgson

I have compiled the information in this report to help my clients stay informed about market trends and to help them make critical decisions while navigating the Greater Portland real estate market.  Data are gathered from records on the Maine Real Estate Information Service (MREIS) also known as the multiple listing service (MLS).  The report presents information from 1998 forward as records prior to that are less reliable.

The information is consolidated into 4 categories based on market trends: 1. Portland and South Portland single family homes; 2. Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Scarborough and Yarmouth single family homes and condos; 3. Gorham, Gray, Westbrook and Windham single family homes and condos; and 4. Portland and South Portland condos.

Please note: for simplicity I will refer to the second quarter as Q3 and so on

General trends in Q3 2011:

Sales are down and new listings are steady; this has brought modest improvement in the balance between inventory and sales for Q3 of 2011.

Prices are down 7% overall from last year but have remained steady, or shown improvement, in some of the towns observed.

A note of caution: the sales figures for 2010 were skewed by the $8000 tax credit incentive which expired April 30 of that year. This pulled much of the year’s activity forward into the first 2 quarters.  Comparing the figures for this year to last year is fraught with pitfalls because we don’t know how many of those sales would have taken place later in the year, if at all, if the tax credit incentive had not been in place.  A more significant indication of trends is found by comparing 2011 figures with 2008 and 2009.

1. Inventory and 2. Sales:

Compared with Q3 of 2010, the number of new listings declined in all areas observed but the number of units sold was up 16% (probably due to last year’s tax credit acceleration).  The number of units sold is still lower than it has been for over 10 years.

In Portland and South Portland the number of single family homes sold increased 17% from Q3 last year.  More significantly, inventory decreased to 1.32 new listings for every property sold; the lowest Q3 ratio in 4 years and below the average for the 14 year period, indicating a healthier balance between supply and demand.

In Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Scarborough, and Yarmouth, the number of properties sold increased 15% from last year but was in line with Q3 of 2007 and 2009.  There were 1.41 new listings for every property sold, down substantially from last year, below the 14 year average, and the lowest Q3 ratio in 7 years.

In Gorham, Gray, Westbrook, and Windham the ratio was 1.82 new listings for every property sold in Q3 2011, in line with the figures from 2007 and 2008. The number of properties sold declined to the lowest level in the 14 year period.

3. Prices:

Prices have continued to show unpredictable fluctuations but at a more modest pace than recent years.  The average sale price increased 3% in Portland and South Portland and increased 2% in Windham, Westbrook, Gorham and Gray, but decreased 4% in Yarmouth, Falmouth, Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough.

Perhaps more significantly, sellers appear to be more realistic than recent years as the sales prices have been more closely aligned with the list prices at the time of sale.

The average sale price for all of these towns was $264,692 and the median price was $237,000.  The lowest sale for the quarter was $40,000 and the highest was $2,000,000, ironically both in Scarborough.

The lowest low price:

Again, the latest figures show that we are bumping along the bottom of the market.  The last quarter had the lowest list price, at the time of sale, in over 5 years which is holding steady around $45,000.  Highlights indicate the peaks and troughs for the 5 years shown.

Total units sold Number below $100,000 Lowest list price Lowest sale price
2006 Q3 738 0 99000 101000
2006 Q4 670 2 69888 63000
2007 Q1 539 2 79888 73300
2007 Q2 774 3 75000 70000
2007 Q3 749 4 65000 55000
2007 Q4 491 4 78900 78900
2008 Q1 423 7 59000 45000
2008 Q2 628 7 85738 70000
2008 Q3 627 5 73500 52000
2008 Q4 426 7 79900 79900
2009 Q1 310 7 54900 53000
2009 Q2 561 9 60000 60000
2009 Q3 705 14 71800 69000
2009 Q4 597 10 50000 50000
2010 Q1 396 11 49900 65000
2010 Q2 774 13 50000 47000
2010 Q3 553 18 55900 55691
2010 Q4 469 13 49900 45000
2011 Q1 363 16 47100 50000
2011 Q2 573 30 45000 31500
2011 Q3 606 11 43900 40000

 

4. Days on Market (DOM):

The average number of days it is taking for a property to sell decreased in Portland, South Portland, Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Scarborough and Yarmouth, but increased in Gorham, Gray, Westbrook and Windham. This may be due in part to short sales becoming more streamlined and taking less time than in recent years.

Quarter 3
Single Family 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Q3
Portland, South Portland AVERAGE
Number listed 233 253 218 276 239 310 332 439 408 298 313 307 256 237 294
Number sold 225 201 193 243 206 250 250 247 202 228 175 200 149 179 211
#Listed/Sold 1.04 1.26 1.13 1.14 1.16 1.24 1.33 1.78 2.02 1.31 1.79 1.54 1.72 1.32 1.41
Average List Price 121578 134156 157134 171959 215278 232001 254084 278822 273178 303745 296294 258417 242233 249770 227761
Average Sale Price 119032 130835 154322 170281 210363 227060 250000 273682 264647 294693 285175 246261 232489 238813 221261
% incr yr before 0.09 0.15 0.09 0.19 0.07 0.09 0.09 -0.03 0.1 -0.03 -0.16 -0.06 0.03 0.05
SP/LP 0.98 0.98 0.98 0.99 0.98 0.98 0.98 0.98 0.97 0.97 0.96 0.95 0.96 0.96 0.97
DOM 51 36 52 27 33 40 38 38 55 65 65 77 83 74 52
SF & Condo 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Yarmouth, Falmouth, Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough AVERAGE
Number listed 236 230 206 274 276 285 297 361 374 346 336 337 290 275 295
Number sold 209 198 204 203 192 226 223 232 197 192 170 207 165 195 201
#Listed/Sold 1.13 1.16 1.01 1.35 1.44 1.26 1.33 1.56 1.90 1.80 1.98 1.63 1.76 1.41 1.48
List Price 206490 239911 276049 356925 328395 341285 419392 465188 503957 446304 384177 377743 402142 384835 366628
Sale Price 197871 231046 269130 341936 318745 331285 405179 450069 490727 429264 368600 363082 382147 368194 353377
% incr yr before 0.14 0.15 0.21 -0.08 0.05 0.17 0.11 0.09 -0.14 -0.07 -0.02 0.05 -0.04 0.05
SP/LP 0.96 0.96 0.97 0.96 0.97 0.97 0.97 0.97 0.97 0.96 0.96 0.96 0.95 0.96 0.96
DOM 86 55 51 53 55 56 58 62 82 66 72 88 96 94 70
SF & Condo 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Windham, Westbrook, Gorham, Gray AVERAGE
Number listed 257 192 218 280 289 308 391 460 526 422 351 338 340 294 333
Number sold 228 200 211 207 206 223 230 274 241 217 189 219 170 164 213
#Listed/Sold 1.13 0.96 1.03 1.35 1.40 1.38 1.70 1.68 2.18 1.94 1.86 1.54 2.00 1.79 1.57
List Price 120025 128189 142872 163841 184431 217648 225355 263067 243296 254496 224018 222064 213525 215835 201333
Sale Price 116169 125813 140950 160813 183224 213483 220954 258069 240062 249995 219513 215329 206660 210589 197259
% incr yr before 0.08 0.12 0.11 0.14 0.13 0.04 0.15 -0.06 0.05 -0.14 -0.02 -0.04 0.02 0.04
SP/LP 0.97 0.98 0.99 0.98 0.99 0.98 0.98 0.98 0.99 0.98 0.98 0.97 0.97 0.98 0.98
DOM 106 72 55 43 47 67 61 59 83 80 98 80 89 97 74
CONDO 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Portland, South Portland AVERAGE
Q2 Listed # units 61 48 57 75 137 74 163 217 211 207 161 128 117 109 126
Q2 Sold # units 64 64 62 64 76 80 118 135 98 112 92 78 70 68 84
#Listed/Sold 0.95 0.75 0.92 1.17 1.80 0.93 1.38 1.61 2.15 1.85 1.75 1.64 1.67 1.60 1.44
List Price 114291 105926 126925 142996 162986 202669 221778 249598 240277 259049 221538 192544 224452 216102 191509
Sale Price 109739 104417 122802 140992 160088 200036 221424 245503 233267 250707 214970 184682 214730 209674 186645
% incr yr before -0.05 0.15 0.13 0.12 0.20 0.10 0.10 -0.05 0.07 -0.17 -0.16 0.14 -0.02 0.04
SP/LP 0.96 0.99 0.97 0.99 0.98 0.99 1.00 0.98 0.97 0.97 0.97 0.96 0.96 0.97 0.97
DOM 64 35 27 36 48 75 70 69 98 119 91 85 95 106 73
SP = Sale Price, LP = List Price, DOM = Days on Market
Peak for 14 year period =
Underperforming per average for the 14 year period =
MREIS Information compiled by Kate Hodgson

 

Snapshot of the real estate market in individual towns:

The table below shows activity for individual towns in the Greater Portland area.  As a general rule I have regarded a market as active, with a healthy rate of turnover, when 20%-25% of the inventory is under contract (column in bold).  Percentages above that indicate a hotter market.  Information in the last 2 columns, on current inventory in relation to recent sales figures, also provides a good snapshot of supply and demand for these areas.

There are two interesting, and conflicting, features to this quarter:

1. There are fewer towns above 20% under contract than usual

2. There are no towns below the 10% mark

October 6, 2011 Current Under Contract Total Inventory %UC Sold Q3 *
Westbrook 104 37 141 0.26 42 3.36
Portland 375 94 469 0.20 166 2.83
Brunswick 140 35 175 0.20 47 3.72
South Portland 163 35 198 0.18 81 2.44
Gorham 129 27 156 0.17 54 2.89
Windham 172 35 207 0.17 50 4.14
Saco 180 36 216 0.17 38 5.68
Scarborough 191 37 228 0.16 64 3.56
Gray 83 16 99 0.16 18 5.50
Topsham 68 13 81 0.16 21 3.86
Dayton,Hollis,Lyman 103 19 122 0.16 28 4.36
Cumberland 83 15 98 0.15 40 2.45
Cape Elizabeth 98 17 115 0.15 39 2.95
D, NG, NoY, P 148 23 171 0.13 36 4.75
Standish 117 18 135 0.13 28 4.82
OOB 182 27 209 0.13 34 6.15
Freeport 93 13 106 0.12 36 2.94
Falmouth 155 21 176 0.12 51 3.45
Raymond 101 13 114 0.11 23 4.96
Yarmouth 70 9 79 0.11 40 1.98
Biddeford 191 22 213 0.10 42 5.07
Bath 123 14 137 0.10 21 6.52
* indicates one Listing on the market for every property Sold in Q2 of 2011
average 0.15 4.02
median 0.15 3.79

 

D, NG, NoY, P* = Durham, New Gloucester, North Yarmouth, Pownal

 

Condos (Portland Maine  and South Portland):

The Portland condo market remained largely unchanged from Q3 of 2010. The number of new listings was down slightly and the number of units sold was almost the same. There were 1.6 new listings for every unit sold.

The number of days it is taking condos to sell increased slightly and the average sale price was down 2% over last year.

On October 18, 2011 there were 189 condos currently on the market in Portland and South Portland and 26 under contract, or 12% of total inventory. There were 3.16 condos on the market for every condo that sold in the third quarter of 2011, indicating a lackluster market.

 

Multi-units (2-4 unit properties in Portland, South Portland, Westbrook):

By comparison the Maine multi-unit market appears fairly robust.  The number of new listings was down slightly from last year but the number of units sold jumped 48%. Forty nine 2-4 unit properties sold in Q3 of 2011, the highest number since 2005 and slightly lower than the average for the 14 year period.

As of October 18, 2011 there are 111 2-4 unit properties on the market in Portland, South Portland, and Westbrook, with 26 of those under contract, or 23% of current inventory.  There were 2.36 listings for every unit that sold in Q3 2011.

Links, notes and the news:

The good news:

According to a recent report by Franklin American, construction spending and service sector spending are both up and the manufacturing sector is expanding.

The bad news:

The number of jobs added doesn’t come close to the number lost since the recession started in December of 2007.

 

Let’s wait:

Buyers:

Recent Bankrate.com surveys show that first-time home buyers are now favoring homes that are in move-in condition and are shying away from fixer-uppers.

According to Apartments.com, 20% of the respondents who are looking for apartments this year are current home owners; 28.8% of respondents said they were relocating for a job, up from 10.4% last year.  Even these respondents are being choosy; most said they are 5 months or more away from selecting a rental.

Sellers:

The WSJ also notes there is a “lack of attractive inventory” as voluntary sellers are withdrawing from the market, foreclosures are stalled because of irregularities, and the lack of demand is keeping prices soft.

Refinances currently account for 85% of loan origination and it takes around 3 years to recover the associated fees indicating that sellers intend to stay put that much longer. Additionally, permits for remodeling jumped 24% in July, according to Buildfax, signaling that potential sellers intend to make due for the time being.

National Trends:

The Census Bureau reported last week that the rate of home ownership dropped the largest amount since the great depression in the last decade yet the percentage of Americans who own their homes remains the second-highest on record.

At the same time, 30 Year fixed rate loans fell below 4% for the first time according to a Freddie Mac surve

Interesting links:

Refinancing Chills Demand for U.S. Home Purchases Amid Economic ‘Squeeze’

Bloomberg.com, by Kathleen Howley, Oct 14

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-14/refinancing-chills-demand-for-u-s-home-purchases-amid-economic-squeeze-.html

Economist stirs controversy with sunny housing forecast

Boston.com, by Scott Van Voorhis, Oct 14

http://www.boston.com/realestate/news/blogs/renow/2011/10/economist_stirs.html

Slim Pickings are Latest Headache for Home Sales

WSJ.com, by Nick Timiraos, Oct 17

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204774604576631381117760982.html

 

If you would like to discuss how this information can better inform questions you may have about buying or selling in your particular situation, please contact me: (207)807-1140 or katehodgson@yahoo.com.  You can also find me on twitter.com where I post trivia questions about Greater Portland history.


Where are all the buyers here in Maine?

Housing Ladder 1It seems no home buyer’s wants to pull the trigger as of late here in the greater Portland Maine real estate marketplace.   Be it uncertainty about the national economy, uncertainty over one’s job situation, the inability to sell ones home in another region of the country…etc etc…BUMMER!

Lots of lookers thankfully to keep us Realtors busy :),  but very few active buyers.. thus the question is..when will this switch flip and the flood gates reopen?  With rates enabling one to buy for less then they can rent..I am truly amazed as a real estate professional that more parties are not snapping up the incredible deals..condos for 100K to 125K and many multi units for 50K or less a unit in up and coming areas such as Bayside.

Thankfully the overall vibe in Portland continues to be strong and thus our marketplace I feel is way better off than the national average, but if I had one word to describe the current conditions.. it would be “Challenging”.  However… prices are fairly stable thankfully, perhaps drifting down a few percentage points in some neighborhoods, but also rising a few % points in markets such as the East End single family home real estate market.

Thanks for reading and happy rainy Monday!

John

 


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