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Greater Portland real estate statistical report for Q3 2011

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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.

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