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2nd Quarter 2011 Greater Portland Statistical Report


Greater Portland real estate statistical report for Q2 2011

By Kate Hodgson, Green Tree Realty

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 Q2 and so on.

General trends in Q2 2011:

The second quarter of 2011 had the lowest number of second quarter sales in over 14 years.

The number of new listings has remained steady, resulting in a greater imbalance between the number of new properties for sale and the number sold.

It is taking longer for properties to sell and they are selling for a lower percentage of the list price at time of sale then last year.

While all of that may sound very gloomy there was a bright spot on the horizon: the number of properties going under contract increased in June, up from the previous year and the previous month. Some of this can be explained by our delayed spring as the weather plays a big role in real estate activity.

One thing is very clear: the $8000 tax credit offered until April 30th of last year skewed the normal pattern of real estate activity. It created a spike in second quarter sales for 2010 and then a trough for the third quarter. So far 2011 figures are much more in line with 2008 and 2009 which demonstrates that we are still bumping along the bottom of the market.

1. Inventory and 2. Sales:

The number of new listings for the second quarter remained steady in most areas but dropped in Gorham, Gray, Westbrook and Windham.  The number of units sold dropped substantially in all areas from Q2 2010 but showed adjustment back to 2008/2009 levels.

In Portland and South Portland the number of single family homes that sold dropped from 219 in Q2 2010 to 164 in Q2 2011; there were 2.13 new listings for every property sold, the highest ratio in over 14 years for these two cities.

In Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Scarborough, and Yarmouth, the number of properties sold in Q2 dropped from 234 in Q2 2010 to 178 in Q2 2011.  There were 2.46 new listings for every property sold, down significantly from Q2 of 2010 but slightly better than 2008 (2.62) and 2009 (2.74).

In Gorham, Gray, Westbrook, and Windham the ratio was 2.36 new listings for every property sold in Q2 2010, up from 2.14 in Q2 2010 but an improvement over 2008 and 2009. The number of properties sold sank from last year but were more in line with 2008 and an improvement over 2009.


3. Prices:

The average sale price has remained steady in most towns with the notable exception of Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Yarmouth, and Scarborough where it jumped 9%. There may have been a few waterfront homes sold that distorted that figure.

4. Days on Market (DOM):

The average number of days it is taking property to sell increased for all the areas observed and remains well over the average since 1998.

Snapshot of the real estate market in individual towns:

The table below shows activity for individual towns in the Greater Portland real estate 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.

June 10, 2011 Current Under Contract Total Inventory %UC Sold Q2 *
Westbrook 103 35 138 0.25 49 2.82
Yarmouth 81 26 107 0.24 25 4.28
South Portland 169 54 223 0.24 65 3.43
Windham 164 39 203 0.19 56 3.63
Brunswick 137 32 169 0.19 51 3.31
Portland 439 101 540 0.19 156 3.46
Cumberland 96 22 118 0.19 27 4.37
Cape Elizabeth 93 20 113 0.18 39 2.90
Scarborough 195 39 234 0.17 63 3.71
Falmouth 158 31 189 0.16 51 3.71
Gorham 144 28 172 0.16 41 4.20
Topsham 74 14 88 0.16 20 4.40
Freeport 99 18 117 0.15 22 5.32
Lyman/Dayton, Hollis 117 21 138 0.15 27 5.11
Saco 184 33 217 0.15 50 4.34
New Gloucester, Pownal, Durham North Yarmouth 154 27 181 0.15 32 5.66
Old Orchard Beach 172 28 200 0.14 49 4.08
Standish 133 21 154 0.14 27 5.70
Biddeford 188 29 217 0.13 33 6.58
Bath 113 17 130 0.13 26 5.00
Gray 92 11 103 0.11 24 4.29
Raymond 113 11 124 0.09 25 4.96
* indicates one Listing on the market for every property Sold in Q2 of 2011
average 0.17 4.33
median 0.16 4.29


Condos (Portland and South Portland):

There was significant drop in activity in the condo market; 57 condos sold in Q2 of 2011 down from 106 in Q2 2010. 68 condos sold in Q2 of 2009 and 94 in Q2 of 2008.

The number of new listings also declined to pre-boom levels and the ratio slipped back to 2.39 new listings for every property sold, similar to what it was in 2008.

The average sales price has remained largely unchanged at $223,274 since 2006.

As of July 7, 2010 there are 229 condos currently on the market in Portland Maine and South Portland with 44 under contract, or 16% of total inventory, the same percentage as the second quarter of last year.

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

Interestingly, the multi-unit market appears to be more stable. Aside from a dip in 2009 the number of 2-4 units sold in Q2 has remained largely unchanged since 2006. The number of new listings has declined since then but in the last 5 years remained steady at around 85 new listings for the second quarter.

The average sale price plunged 17% in 2009 but has remained steady since that time.

Things to watch:

The first three are really about confidence and the second two give an indication on future job market trends.

1. Jobs figures

2. Oil prices

3. The European economy

4. Housing starts

5. Manufacturing

When was it listed?

Have you ever been looking on line and wondered how long a property has been on the market? Properties are listed sequentially when they are entered into the MLS database and the higher the number the more recently it has been listed.  To give you an idea of how long a property has been on the market I have put together the following guide:

MLS No. Date listed
1000000 January 10, 2011
1005000 March 14, 2011
1010000 April 22, 2011
1015000 May 23. 2011
1020000 June 22, 2011

Interesting Links:

Couple Threatens Bank of America with Foreclosure,  by Tamara Lush, Associated Press


US Tackles Housing Slump, WSJ by Nick Timiraos 7/11/2011


Foreclosure Sales Decline Second Straight Month, DSNews.com by Krista Franks 7/11/2011


Home Prices Break Long Descent but Late-Year Declines Forecast, DSNews.com by Carrie Bay, 7/7/2011



Rents Rise, Vacancies Go Down, WSJ by Sushil Cheema, 7/11/2011


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.

As always, please contact me if you have any further questions regarding this information.

This information is compiled and analyzed by Kate Hodgson. Reprints by permission, contact information at www.katehodgson.com. Thank you for your interest.

Maine housing prices update – June 2011


Housing prices continue to stabilize and in some cases may actually be rising a bit right in Portland proper as our case study in our most recent Maine housing report for May illustrates as year over year prices for homes and condos in Portland Maine have been up for 6 straight months in a row!  Overall however it seems that most of the southern Maine and mid coastal markets are continuing to experience much of the same…lower transaction volume.. down about 30% overall in 2011 compared with 2010, but stable pricing for the most part.  List to sales ratios have continued to hover around 95% and the strongest market continues to be the first time home buyer one as rental prices for the most part are creeping up..coupled with historically low interest rates has thus enabled parties to own for less than they can rent.. another reason the real estate markets have remained stable..  See overall housing statistics below for the 4 counties I follow and  here is another great recent housing report from a local Portland Maine realtor as well.

May – 2011 vs 2010

Transactions Prices DOM
2011 2010 Change 2011 2010 Change 2011 2010 Change
York 159 209 -24% 188 189 -1% 101 65 5%
Cumberland 282 366 -23% 219 206 6% 59 61 37%
Sagadahoc 28 53 -47% 170 171 -1% 41 38 -34%
Lincoln 14 27 -48% 130 125 4% 232 140 66%

Mid quarter Maine Housing report: Are house prices dropping?


Recent Case Schiller reports show that nationally real estate prices have plunged to 2002 levels and may decline further.

I checked the price per square foot of 3 bedroom, single family homes that have sold in the Greater Portland Maine area in the last 10 years: the price per square foot peaked in 2006 at $171. The price has declined to $142, placing us in between the 2003 level at $135 and the 2004 level at $153 per square foot.

The good news is that the average sale price per square foot has remained steady for the last three years.


Price per square foot of 3 bedroom single family homes sold in Greater Portland:

Average sq ft Average Sale Price Price/ sq ft
2000 1518 152,130 100
2001 1545 167,027 108
2002 1673 191,481 114
2003 1607 217,049 135
2004 1601 244,362 153
2005 1591 271,153 170
2006 1602 273,306 171
2007 1649 266,564 162
2008 1711 257,282 150
2009 1682 238,394 142
2010 1681 239,709 143
2011 1776 252,076 142

2011 average to June 9, 2011

MREIS information compiled by Kate Hodgson

The lowest sales price for the Greater Portland area in the month of May was $50,000, matching the lowest sales price for the preceding quarter.

Portland Maine..bumping along the bottom?


One of my colleagues told me he always looks for the lowest sale price each month to see if we have hit the bottom of the market.  With this in mind I collected the bottom sale price for the last 5 years as well as the number of properties that sold below $100,000.  The information illustrates the downside of the 2005-06 peak and subsequent troughs. It appears that we are bumping along the bottom, but I am optimistic we have hit the bottom and shall begin to see encouraging housing data on both the Portland Maine condo and housing markets as we go forward as it seems the pseudo Spring weather has brought many home buyers and sellers back into the marketplace.


Portland Voted #4 as best real estate market in 2011


Wow.. we are really starting to finally get some real exposure up here in Maine and why not..fantastic quality of life, an affordable housing stock, top restaurant scene in the nation, no traffic, lots of area recreation.. what more could you ask for.  Intown Portland condos can still be found for well under 200K, a modest 3 Bed/2 Bath house in a great neighborhood for under 300K.. what are you waiting for :)

Recently Inman news released their top 10 real estate markets to watch in 2011.. and we ranked #4…even cooler is that yours truly was the author quoted.. I feel famous.. well at least for a few hours given the way media and information disseminate nowadays.

The snow is melting and spring is on the way..come on up anytime!

Where do Home Buyers in Maine come from?


The Maine Association of Realtors recently released a nice little report on where home buyers in Maine in 2010 came from. You can read the full PDF report here, but the highlights are as follows:

  • 75% of all residential home sales were from existing Mainers..9,110 total
  • “Mass holes” :) were next clocking in at 8%
  • The highest non-New England state was NY garnering 1.45% or 173 transactions

Thanks for reading and please come back soon! :)

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