" " " Maine's Waterfront Real Estate News: 2007

Thursday, November 1, 2007

As Always, Real Estate is Local.

I saw on the news a few days ago that real estate values in California have dropped by 28% this past year. Having moved to Maine from California about 7 years ago, I quickly calculated that this means someone who owns a $400,000 home there (which doesn't buy much in most of California) now owns a home worth $288,000 !

I compare this to Maine, where median home values went UP slightly in both July and August, and dropped DOWN in value slightly in September (overall, a 1.04% decrease over the previous year). The national median sales price had a decrease of 4.9% for September alone.

Further, Knox County, where I am located in mid-coast Maine, had a sales increase of units sold from July 1 to September 30 of 21.71% and an increase of median sales price of 8.33%, compared to statewide figures of -1.49% units sold and +1.56% increase of medain prices.

All of which just goes to support the proposition that real estate is indeed very local in nature, despite the doomsday blitz by the national media....

Monday, October 1, 2007

Real Estate Sales Up Again in August

For the second month in a row, the Maine Association of Realtors reports that the sales of single-family existing homes in Maine has increased, with 1,425 homes sold across the state during August 2007 -- a 6.74% increae from last August's total of 1,335 homes sold. The median sales price for those homes sold remained unchanged at $195,000. Nationally, sales of single-family existing homes dropped 13% compared to August 2006. For the regional Northeast, the National Associaton of Realtors reported sales were down 5.7% from one year ago.

But, even as Maine seems to be bucking the trend compared to most other areas, it still remains a strong buyers market -- and most investors love buyers markets because they say THEY don't feel pressured -- sellers do...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Very Unique Real Estate Purchase

Fulfilling a dream to someday live "off the grid", Kevin and Rebecca Kelly of Starkville, Mississippi -- with the assistance of Waterfront Properties of Maine -- recently completed the purchase of the easternmost piece of privately held real estate in the continental United States.

Abutting the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse at the Northeastern tip of the coast of Maine, the 10 acre parcel they purchased has views of the Atlantic Ocean and across Passamaquoddy Bay to Campobello Island, Canada.

Historically significant for many reasons, the construction of the West Qouddy Head Lighthouse was authorized by Thomas Jefferson in 1806.

Campobello Island is best known as the site of the summer residence of Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt, who had a "cottage" there. This property has since been made into a park and is visited by tens of thousands of visitors each year.

Kevin Kelly is a graphic designer who owns Pixel Pushers Design Studio. Rebecca is Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Mississippi State University.

They plan to eventually build their new home on this spectacular property.

Les Taylor, of Waterfront Properties of Maine, helped the Kellys locate this property and acted as the Buyer's Broker in this transaction.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Maine Bucks the Trend !!!

While most of the rest of the country is experiencing a continued slump in the real estate market, sales and prices of Maine's single family homes rose over 4% in July. The Maine Association of Realtors reports that 4.26% more homes sold this July when compared to July 2006. Not only did sales increase, but the median sales prices increased 4.74%. A total of 1,247 homes sold during July 2007, up from last July's sales of 1,196 homes. The median sales price reached $199,000 -- a 4.74% increase from July 2006's price of $190,000. Nationally, sales of existing, single family homes dropped 9.3% from July 2006.. According to NAR, the national median sales price dipped 1%.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Mortgage Rates Fall Again

Washington D.C. - Mortgage rates fell for the third straight week after rising substantially over the previous two months, according to Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored loan buyer. They reported the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan declined to 6.59 percent for the week ending August 9,2007 -- from 6.68 percent the previous week.

Both the tightening of underwriting standards and slackening house price appreciation are possible contributing factors to the declione.

In its latest report, Freddie Mac said that rates on 15-year fixed-rate loans averaged 6.25 percent, five-year adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 6.33 percent and one-year ARMs averaged 5.65 percent.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Just the Facts: June Home Sales

It's beginning to sound like a broken record but, once again, the monthly figures reported by the Maine Association of Realtors indicates June sales were down -- but prices went up. There were 1,316 single family homes sold in June 2007 -- a 16.76% decrease from June 2006, when 1,581 homes sold. The median sales price for homes sold in June 2007 reached $199,950 -- up 0.48%. The median sales price indicates that half of the homes were sold for more and half were sold for less. According to the National Association of Realtors, sales of existing single-family homes fell 12.1% in the past year, while the national median sales price increased 0.1% to $230,300. Regional sales were down 7.3% in the Northeast, with prices up 1.8% to $294,400 from last June.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Cool Stuff: Go to an Old-Fashioned Country Fair

If you would like to see one of the best agricultural fairs in Maine, be sure to mark August 19th through 25th on your calender for the Union Fair/Maine Wild Blueberry Festival.

First held in 1869 as a harvest festival where local farm families could compete in agricultural events and display their livestock, field crops, agricultural implements, dairy products, fruits and homemade crafts such as quilts, embroidery and rugs -- most people traveled to the fair with a horse and wagon, while some came via the Georges Valley Railroad for a fare of 40 cents.

The modern version of this fair (where people arrive by horseless carriage) has managed to retain its strong agricultural flavor, which still has all the above activities, but over the years has added many exciting features. Some of these not-to-be-missed events include:

* pig scrambles
* daily harness horse racing
* oxen pulling contest
* watermelon seed spitting contest
* rooster crowing & hen cackling
* wild blueberry pie eating contest
* demolition derby
* tractor pulling
* many midway/carnival rides
* bubblegum blowing contest
* real country battle of the bands
* all you can eat pancake contest

There's much, much more to see and do at this fair... for more details go to:

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Maine #2 For Real Estate Searches

For those of us who live here and love it, it came as no surprise -- but many users of AOL Search were wondering if there is something about Maine they didn't know about -- when they read these results today:

Top searched states for real estate on AOL Search:

1) Florida real estate
2)Maine real estate
3)North Carolina real estate
4)Arkansas real estate
5)Hawaii real estate
6)Tennessee real estate
7)Texas real estate
8)Delaware real estate
9)Utah real estate
10)Arizona real estate

Maine also made it onto AOL's top vacation wish list:

Top searched vacation spots on AOL Search:

1) Florida vacations
2) Las Vegas vacations
3) Outer Banks vacation rentals
4) Hawaii vacations
5) Vacation Palm Springs
6) Mexico vacations
7) Myrtle Beach vacation rentals
8) Orlando vacations
9) Maine vacations
10) Texas vacations

Monday, May 28, 2007

Just the Facts: April Sales Down -- Prices Up.

The Maine Association of Realtors reports home sales were 12.2% lower in April 2007 than last year. The median sales price for the 921 Maine homes sold in April reached $201,000, an increase of 5.79% from April 2006's median sales price of $190,000. The median sales price indicates that half of the homes were sold for more and half for less. Nationwide, April's sales were down 11.2% compared to last year. According to the National Association of Realtors, the national median existing single-family home pricers dipped 0.9% to $220,500 in April. In the regional Northeast, sales were down 8.8% and the median existing single-family home price was $283,600, down 0.6%.

Friday, May 18, 2007

How to Talk Yankee

Visitors, traveling the back roads of Maine, stopping at a country store, or a farm stand or a yard sale, quickly pick up on the fact that Mainers have their own lingo. They use words not heard in other states and use pronunciations that are unique and sometimes difficult to understand. It is not only remarkable that these localisms have survived, but that they are delivered with unusual brevity and a dry humor that's hard to grasp at first.

From "ayuh" (yes) to "daow" (emphatic no), for those interested in learning more about the language of Maine, we would refer you to "How to Talk Yankee" by Gerald Lewis. See our Publications section.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ten Waterfront Buying Tips

There are a few twists and turns particular to buying waterfront property in Maine, so we have put together a brochure to help ease you through the process successfully.

Learn how to locate property lines, how zoning can restrict what you can do with a waterfront property, determining road and utility access, if you can clear any vegetation, the importance of inspections, legal and broker representation, and much more...

If you would like to receive a copy of "Ten Important Tips You Should Know Before Buying Waterfront Property in Maine", just Email your request to info@WaterfrontPropertiesOfMaine.com -- giving us your mailing address or Email address.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Just the Facts: Encouraging Numbers

The Maine Association of Realtors reported the median sales prices of existing homes were up 4.84% during the month of February when compared to one year ago. The statewide median existing home sales price reached $193,950 for the month, up from February 2006's price of $185,000. The median sales price indicates that half of of the homes were sold for more and half sold for less. A total of 698 homes changed hands during the month, down a slight 1.13%. Nationally, sales of single-family, existing homes decreased 3.4% from last February.

My personal opinion is that the current "soft" real estate market is mostly a media-inspired event -- although no doubt there was overbuilding in some markets and other areas where prices needed "stabilizing".

But this does give buyers a "window" to shop for properties at more realistic values....

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Cool Stuff: Mail a Friend a "Lobstah".

Restaurants throughout the world feature "Maine lobster" -- that sweet, succulent stuff that makes grown people don bibs and make a delicious mess. What better gift could you send to a friend, on a special occasion, than live Maine lobsters, complete with bibs, crackers, picks, wet wipes as well as cooking and eating instructions?

Shipped in special insulated cartons for next-day delivery via UPS or FedEx, you can be sure to surprise a friend with this memorable gift.

If you really want to blow someone away, a few of the purveyors listed below will overnight a complete Live Lobster Bake, which can include steamer clams, black mussels, New England seafood chowder, sweet corn, red potatoes and topped off with a native blueberry pie....

The Maine Lobster Council lists 47 members that will ship live lobsters at www.mainelobsterpromo.com

The companys we have selected below are mostly family businesses that have been lobstering for 40 years or more...

William Atwood Lobster Company -- www.atwoodlobster.com
Bayley's Lobster Pound -- www.bayleys.com
Boothbay Region Lobsterman's Co-op -- www.mainelobstercoop.net
Cap Morrill's -- www.capmorrills.com
Cape Porpoise Lobster Company -- www.capeporpoiselobster.com
Graffam Bros. -- www.lobsterstogo.com
McAleney's New Meadows Lobster -- www.newmeadowslobster.com
P J Merrill Seafoods -- www.pjmerrillseafood.com
New Harbor Fisherman's Co-op -- www.newharborlobster.com
Young's Shellfish Company -- www.youngshellfish.com
The Perfect Lobster Compny -- www.theperfectlobster.com

Monday, March 19, 2007

Real Estate Outlook: 2007

I'm a great believer in cycles -- in the stock market, in politics, in relationships, in life -- and definitely cycles in the U.S. real estate market. After cruising along for many months, or sometimes years, we can be yanked up short with a pronounced change in the marketplace, like now, where a sellers market is evolving into a buyers market.

So how should sellers deal with this changing market? Here are some suggestions:

1.) REEL IN EXPECTATIONS. Not so easy to do when prices have been steadily increasing for the last few years -- many sellers still haven't quite adjusted their thinking to this emerging buyers market.

2.) PRICE PROPERTY REALISTICALLY. Forget about last year's figures -- find out what comparable properties have been selling for in the last 2 to 3 months, and what's currently on the market, and their prices -- and then price your property competitively.

3.) GET YOUR PROPERTY SALEABLE. Called "staging", it's now more important than ever to fix minor flaws, think about an extra coat of paint, tidy things up and maximize your "curb" appeal for people driving by. These little extras will greatly improve your chances of getting the best price for your property.

4.) PATIENCE. The inventory of properties for sale is much higher than a year ago. One of the truths about real estate is that ALL properties eventually sell, when the price is right -- in this type of market, it's just going to take longer than last year.

5.) BUYERS ARE THERE ! Most brokers are fairly busy showing properties -- it's just that buyers have more to select from, they are taking their time to find the right property, and they are making sure they're getting a good value.

And what should buyers do?

Waiting to buy at the exact bottom of the market is as fruitless in real estate as it is in the stock market. It's more important to find the property you want, determine if it is a good value and then make your offer accordingly.

The old saying "NOW is always the best time to buy" is certainly true today, with a large inventory to select from, sellers becoming more negotiable, plus historically low interest rates.

The cycle WILL change back to a sellers market...but who knows exactly when?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Cool Stuff: Go to a Country Auction

Besides community and church bingo games, the second most popular form of indoor entertainment (sometimes outdoors) in Maine is going to a country auction.

Have you ever wondered where antique dealers go to get their goods? In Maine, often called the "Attic of America", one of their best-kept secrets is the Burnham Auction (Houston-Brooks).

This auction, which claims to "buy junk and sell antiques", is a primary recipient from all those Maine attics and barns. The sheer variety of items found here will leave you scratching your head. It requires that you get up very early, as it starts promptly at 7 AM almost every Sunday of the year, be it rain, sleet, snow or freezing weather.

Operated by Dan and Pam Brooks and many associates, this auction has been a scene to behold for over 36 years. You will need to master the art of saying " yup" -- and be fast -- as many items go for less than $10.00.

CAUTION: Guard against getting auction "fever". A worse-case scenario of this ailment was when, in the heat of battle -- and only the auctioneer recognized, and called out the fact to the crowd -- that I was bidding against my wife on the other side of the room for the very same item. Embarrassing, but true...

They have a website for coming events and the items which will be featured at: www.houstonbrooks.com.

Some other Maine auctions where we have found some good buys and had some good fun:

Thomaston Place Auction Galleries (Thomaston) www.thomastonauction.com
Robert Foster Auction Gallery (Newcastle) www.fosterauctions.com
Brooder House Auction Service (Union) www.brooderhouse.com
Chesley's Auction Gallery (Corinth) www.chesleyauction.com
Gamage Antiques (Rockland) www.gamageantiques.com
Farrins Country Auction (Augusta) www.farrinsauctions.com
Andrews & Andrews Auctioneers (Northport) www.andrewsandandrews.com
Kennebec River Auction (Bath) www.maine-antiques.com
Cyr Auction Company (Gray) www.cyrauction.com
James D. Julia (Fairfield) www.juliaauctions.com

Friday, March 9, 2007

Just the Facts: The Internet vs. Real Estate

According to the National Association of Realtors, last year 78% of repeat buyers and 82% of first-time buyers used the internet in their home searches.