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Markets in Greater Portland on the Rebound

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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.


3rd Quarter Housing Report on Southern Maine

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This morning at our Greater Portland Board of Realtor’s meeting we were lucky enough to get the chief economist for the National Association of Realtor’s, Lawrence Yun, to come speak about the current state of our housing economy, from both a local and national perspective.  As optimistic as he tried to be.. he was very realistic and basically said it was a challenging environment and the recovery is slow, but Portland Maine has fared better than the average city!

With that said… here is some data on how the greater Portland residential housing market fared in the 3rd quarter of 2010.   490 homes and condos sold at a median price point of 250K representing a transaction volume decrease of 37% and a pricing increase of 9% year over year although this pricing increase is more  a function of less first time home buyers in the marketplace than of real price appreciation.  Read the full 3rd quarter Maine report here.

It seems the markets of southern Maine have come alive as of late, but don’t expect any drastic gains in the near future. More than likely prices will flat line for a while, but with price stablizing buying has never been more attractive in this humble Realtor’s opinion.

You can search all Maine homes for sale here  if you would like or leave a comment and let me know where you think the market will go.


Maine Realtors Releases September Home Statistics

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Yesterday the Maine Association of Realtors released their monthly housing statistics on median home prices and transaction volume for all the counties in Maine.  The statewide median home price clocked in at $169,900, down just under 2% from a year prior whilst transaction volume in September 2010 was off over 20% compared with 2009 figures.

Here is a look at National, Regional and Maine Housing Statistics

State North East USA
Median Prices -1.74% -1.4% -1.9%
Transaction Volume -21.07% -20.8% -19.5%

If you dig into the specific county data, see here… one can see that that the southern ME real estate markets fared much better than average with Cumberland up almost 3% in median pricing and York county up a whopping 21%, go figure!!  Homes in mid coastal Maine also saw improved pricing with median prices up 9% and 10% respectively for Sagadahoc and Lincoln counties.

As rates continue to remain close to 4% the real estate markets, despite being slower than normal, currently offer some great possibilities. Search all homes in Maine for sale here and thanks for reading!


October 2010 Southern ME Housing Update

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Blogging from an ipad on a bus from Boston….

MacBraynes Bus - 1961 Restored Bedford Coach 603CYS - used by Northern Constabulary Pipe BandHaving recently published my October housing newsletter on the real estate markets of York, Cumberland, Sagadahoc and Lincoln  counties it was no surprise to find that volume continues to remain off about 20% in the southern ME real estate markets compared with a year prior.

Statistically speaking prices were up in September, but these increases are more the result of a less first time home buyers in the marketplace  than of actual price increases.  Overall I feel the regional marketplace continues to see price stabilization.

Thus far through October buyer traffic has been stronger and with interest rates pushing 4%, if one qualify for a loan..DO IT!!!… these rates will not last!

Some questions going forward will be…How will the foreclosure fiasco play out…What will rates do?…Will title companies insure foreclosed properties? Will the Economy start generating jobs!!


Mid Coastal and Southern ME Sept. Housing Report

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The coastal and southern Maine regions including the counties of York, Cumberland, Sagadahoc and Lincoln saw more of the same for the month period ending in September 2009.  Housing inventories continue to decrease as do the days on market for residential real estate!  Median prices were down a bit more significantly year over year this September but on a 3 month rolling average, prices are off about 10%.  The markets have for the most part been pretty stable since the start of the summer and since January 1, little pricing decrease has been seen and volume has been steadily increasing, both great signs for a continued improvement.  The full Maine housing report can be seen here.
Thanks for reading,

John Herrigel
A southern and mid coastal Maine buyers agent.


3rd Quarter Greater Portland ME home sales report

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medianhomepricingFor the 3 months ending September 2009, the greater Portland real estate markets saw market improvement over the first half of the year.  The towns of Portland, South Portland, Westbrook, Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth saw a combined total of 431 transactions compared with 372 in the 2nd quarter and 399 for the same period 2008, representing a 7% year over year increase.
transactionvolumeThe average median price for all 5 communites was 238K, down 12% from266K in 2008 for the same 3 month period.  Median prices in the 1st and 2nd qtr 2009 was 263 and 250K respectively.

You can view the entire report with individual Maine community housing statistics here.

Thanks for reading!

John

Maine Buyers Broker


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