According to the Chinese Five Element Astrology Calendar, 2013 is the Year of Water Snake. Expectations for the year include great opportunities yet require considerable skill to guard against complacency and indifference. This might be especially true in the area of real estate, as the sales results from 2012 were very encouraging - but can they be continued into 2013?
We have recently updated our website will all the 2012 sales results for homes and condos. Generally speaking, real estate sales were good in 2012, especially compared to 2011. Single family home sales were 11,594, representing a significant increase of 16.3% over the prior year. Most counties and towns, especially in Southern Maine, reported gains in unit sales. Median pricing, however, was much more variable by town and city. Overall, the median price in Maine in 2012 was $170,000, up 3% from the prior year - and was at its highest level since 2008, when priced reached $180,000.
Cumberland and York Counties are the two largest real estate segments in Maine and combined represent 40% of the market. Both counties experienced strong growth in 2012 and exceeded the state average, as volume was up 18.5% in Cumberland County and 17.3% in York County. These increases, however, are after several years of marginal or declining sales. As way of comparison, sales in 2005 for the entire state peeked at 14,592 units and dropped to as low as 9,965 in 2011. The median selling price in Cumberland County was $224,000 vs $225,900 - essentially unchanged.
While sales of homes priced in the middle and upper price brackets (above $500,000) improved 23% in 2012, the median price showed very little improvement. These homes were also heavily discounted from their initial list price. Home priced above $500,000 were reduced 86% from list price while those priced above $1 million were discounted 79%.
For a more complete review of 2012 results, follow the link to Maine Home Sales
. Once there you can also link to specific community results.
Maine Lifestyle Search
Use Geo-Spatial Map
Finding a home is much more complex than just reviewing a list of properties. Understanding different neighborhoods and evaluating them along many different parameters is also an important activity - and one that is a growing expectation from online visitors.
We have recently introduced our innovative Maine Lifestyle Search. This tool allows you to visually see the relational perspective between all things important in a real estate buying decision making process.
We have added a Geo-Spatial interactive map that allows you to plot and view, in real-time, all neighborhoods, schools, services, restaurants, entertainment and many other local amenities. You can also add the exact name of just about anything you can think of.
Every aspect of the search process is conducted on the map - creating a fluid and entertaining user experience.
The map can be centered for any location and allows you to explore areas on a very local level, and even identify distances in increments as small as a tenth of a mile.
If you are thinking about moving to the area and really want to get to know the local community, we encourage you to give it a try. Follow the link to: Maine Lifestyle Search
Predictions for 20123
The Swami has Spoken
"It tough to make predictions, especially about the future." - Yogi Berra
Some general thoughts about what to expect this year.....
1. Interest rates will begin to rise slowly. Most economists and industry experts seem to agree that this is inevitable. From what I hear from local mortgage brokers don't be surprised to see rates be a full point higher by the fourth quarter. This will clearly have a dampening effect on the real estate market, but at the same time create a sense of urgency during the year.
2. Home sales will continue to rise, but not at the levels we experienced in 2012. An increase over the prior year of between 6 to 8 percent would be reasonable - and satisfactory - given that last year's dramatic increases were based on the depressed market conditions of 2011. Expect no more than a 3 to 4 percent increase in median prices.
3. Maine has always had a strong vacation home market that has suffered during the last several years. Pricing in the higher market segments has not shown any significant improvement while other segments have. Expect waterfront and lakefront home sales to improve, especially in the middle price range where there are exceptional values to be had.
4. Consumers will continue to use the latest technology in their search for real estate. Those real estate companies that focus on this will be the most successful at both selling existing listings and attracting new buying clients. The growth in mobile applications will continue to be at the forefront.
Portland Economic Scorecard
Third Annual Regional Review
The third annual Portland Economic Scorecard has just been published. This may sound a little boring, but for those who are interested in the overall economic performance of the area - and prospects for the future - this report provides a good road map to setting plans for improvement.
Produced by the Portland Community Chamber and the Portland Development Corporation, the report details 32 indicators of economic vitality including employment, income, education, housing, taxes and overall affordability.
These measures assess Portland as it relates to Maine, New England, and the United States, as well as a set of benchmark cities around the country. A range of primary and secondary economic indicators are used as measurements. Learn More
Thank you for your continued support. As with everything we do we constantly strive to set a standard of professionalism uncommon in our industry.
We would love to hear your comments and suggestions as to what you would like to read in the weeks and months ahead. Email us anytime at: Info@MaineHomeConnecction.com.
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If you are thinking of buying or selling - or know of someone who is, it would be our privilege to assist them.
Laura & Michael Sosnowski
Maine Home Connection