" " " Maine's Waterfront Real Estate News: 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Great Housing Rebound of 2012

By Christopher Matthews TIME Without a doubt, the U.S. housing market has been the most successful sector of the economy this year, and Wednesday’s Case-Shiller home price index report — which showed a fifth consecutive month of year-over-year increases in home prices nationwide — was a late Christmas present for homeowners across the country. The housing market “bottom” was one of the biggest business stories of 2012. After years of falling home values, the data clearly showed that the bleeding stopped somewhere in the first part of 2012, and that home prices have actually begun to slowly rise since then. In addition, other indicators like housing starts, new home sales, and foreclosure statistics all point toward a healing housing sector. These dynamics have gotten some economists and market analysts excited about the growth prospects for the U.S. economy in 2013. Robert Johnson, director of economic analysis for Morningstar, called housing, “the big change factor in 2013,” and believes that “direct housing investment will be a meaningful contributer” to economic growth in 2013. He also sees industries related to housing — like furniture manufacturing and sales — adding to economic growth in 2013 as the housing market begins to pick up.

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Corner Turned for the Real Estate Market in 2012

After 2011, Real Estate was looking for any signs of improvement in 2012 and it looks like some relief is sight. The relief came in the form of minor jumps in multiple areas in the Real Estate Industry. Forbes reported a drop in Vacancy Rates from 3.0 to 2.1 percent, which is much closer to our average of 1.5 percent. New Construction had its largest gains in the month of October since July of 2008. New Construction units built in 2011 came in around 600,000 and now in 2012 analyst show a jump to 750,000 units built. Forecasters for the economy expect that 2013 New Construction will reach above 1,000,000 units built. Forbes stating that the New Construction is the best news to come out of 2012. However, we need about 1.5 million new units to match population growth. New Construction is important because it creates an average of three jobs per new unit for a year and $90,000 in tax revenue. Some of the factors noted to helping the Real Estate market, our economy that is improving slightly, number of people looking for homes and the inventory dropping.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Maine Sales and Prices Up Again..

SOUTH PORTLAND (October 19, 2012)— Real estate statistics continue a positive climb across the state of Maine. According to the Maine Real Estate Information System, Inc. (MREIS), sales of single-family existing homes increased 8.48 percent in September 2012, compared to the same month one year ago. The median sales price (MSP) for those homes rose 6.92 percent to $170,000 in that same time period. The MSP indicates that half of the homes were sold for more and half sold for less. The National Association of Realtors reports a nationwide sales increase of 10.8 percent while the national MSP rose 11.4 percent to $184,300. Regionally, sales are up 7.3 percent in the Northeast; the regional MSP increased 4.1 percent to $238,700. Tina Lucas, 2012 President of the Maine Association of Realtors, relays, “Currently, my market area mirrors the new statistics, as activity has certainly increased. In fact, we are beginning to experience, on occasion, multiple offer situations on well-priced, move-in ready homes in the right location. Sellers feel more confident about entering the market; they have a better sense of what level of value to expect now that the market has more stability.”

Friday, July 20, 2012

Maine Home Sales Increase 26% in June

SOUTH PORTLAND (July 19, 2012) — In June 2012, sales of single-family existing homes in Maine again increased by double-digits. According to the Maine Real Estate Information System, Inc. (MREIS), 1,247 homes sold last month, up 26.6 percent compared with June 2011. The median sales price (MSP) in that same time period increased 1.68 percent to $175,500. The MSP indicates that half of the homes were sold for more and half sold for less. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports a sales increase of 4.8 percent for national existing single-family homes. Prices are up 8.0 percent nationwide to a national MSP of $190,100. Regionally, sales in the Northeast increased 1.9 percent and the regional MSP declined 1.8 percent to $253,700.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Maine Islands Using Grants to Attract New Residents

FRED FIELD FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE - ISLE AU HAUT, Maine — The 40 year-round residents of this remote, wind-swept island about six miles off the Maine coast are looking for some adventurous souls to join their community, contribute to its civic life, and fill the one-room schoolhouse with children. To woo new neighbors, Isle au Haut’s leaders have secured a $355,000 state grant to build two affordable rental homes — one amidst blueberry patches and spruce trees, the other offering glimpses of the rocky coast — for families of four earning less than $70,000 a year. “We want people who aren’t coming here to escape, who understand living here is not simple,’’ said Gerardine Wurzburg, a longtime island resident and Academy Award-winning documentary producer who’s heading the campaign for the Isle au Haut Community Development Corp. “You have to have a certain amount of initiative to be in this kind of place. If you do, there is a strong community of people.” The housing plan is part of a $3 million statewide initiative to use affordable housing to bolster Maine’s year-round island communities, which have dwindled from about 300 to 15 over the past century. Nine islands — from Peaks Island off of Portland to Great Cranberry Island near Acadia National Park — are in the process of building affordable single-family or duplex homes. Many once-robust island populations suffered with the proliferation of the motor boat in the early 1900s — which allowed fisherman to live farther away from their catches — as well as the growth of railroads, which trumped ships as the preferred method of commercial transportation. As an earlier generation of lobstermen died, families sold waterfront properties to out-of-state summer visitors, raising real estate values and leaving homes vacant and dark for much of the year. Without year-round populations, the islands are more vulnerable to theft and vandalism. “There are 5,000 residents that care passionately that these communities exist and they are willing to work incredibly hard to make it happen,’’ said Rob ­Snyder, executive vice president of the Island Institute, a Rockland nonprofit that championed the affordable-housing funding. “To have them squeezed out of existence simply because [the islands] are nice places to spend the summer is a tragedy,’' said Philip Conkling, founder of the institute. “It's an equity issue.” Isle au Haut — about six miles from the mainland via Stonington — has particular challenges because it’s one of the state’s least populated atolls. The campaign to attract new residents includes a website, www.isleauhaut.org, and a media push through local newspapers and trade magazines. The island is six miles long and two miles wide, and more than half of it is part of Acadia National Park, which is largely on Mount Desert Island to the north. Thousands of visitors take the 45-minute mail boat and ferry service from Stonington to explore Isle au Haut during the summer, when the island population expands to about 300. But in winter, life slows drastically and the ferry operates only six days a week. Islanders mostly earn a living through fishing, carpentry, or landscaping — and in some cases, a combination of all three. A small number have launched new businesses, including a chocolate company, with the help of the US Postal Service and high-speed Internet. But islanders worry that if they lose the school, the year-round population will go with it. Currently, only four students, all boys, attend the kindergarten through eighth-grade facility, so even one or two new families could make a difference. Additional residents could also boost the school council, the volunteer fire department, and turnout at the multigenerational Wednesday night volleyball games held inside a community room in Town Hall. “We need more voices on the island,” said Kate Shaffer, a 40-year-old California native who operates the six-year-old Black Dinah Chocolatiers with her husband, Steve. “Forty people isn’t enough to have a functional community.” The new initiative includes a three-bedroom house that will rent for $750 a month and a two-bedroom property that will cost $600 a month.The state is providing $355,000 toward the project and the island is raising additional money through special events, including a July Fourth pancake breakfast and a mini-triathlon. The nonprofit Genesis Community Loan Fund, based in Damariscotta, is helping all of the islands get low-cost loans for additional expenses. “It is a field of dreams — build it and they will come,’’ Wurzburg said during a recent tour of the two sites. “You can’t get people unless you have affordable housing.”

Monday, June 25, 2012

New Home Sales Race to Two-Year High in May

WASHINGTON | Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:04am EDT (Reuters) - New single-family home sales surged in May to a one-year high and prices rose from a year ago amid tightening supply, further signs the housing market was gaining some momentum. The Commerce Department said on Monday sales jumped 7.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted 369,000-unit annual rate, the highest since April 2010. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast sales at a 346,000-unit rate last month from April's 343,000-unit pace. March's sales pace was revised up to 347,000 units from the previously reported 332,000 units. Compared to May last year, new home sales were up 19.8 percent. The housing market is showing signs of life even as the broader economy is weakening, and residential construction is expected to contribute to gross domestic product this year for the first time since 2005. Data last week showed a jump in home building intentions in May and a fourth straight month of gains in the median price of a previously owned home. The improving housing market picture was further enhanced by a 5.6 percent rise in the median price of a new home to $234,500 from May last year. While the inventory of new homes on the market edged up 0.7 percent to 145,000 units last month, it remained near record lows. At May's sales pace it would take 4.7 months to clear the houses from the market, the lowest since October 2005, down from 5.0 months in April. New home sales last month were buoyed by a 36.7 percent jump in the Northeast and a 12.7 percent rise in the South. Sales in the West fell 3.5 percent and were down 10.6 percent in the Midwest.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Mortgage Rates Drop Again to Record Lows

WASHINGTON (AP) – Average rates on 30-year and 15-year fixed mortgages this week fell to record lows for the sixth straight week. Cheap mortgages continue to help boost prospects for home sales this year. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year loan dropped to 3.67%. That's down sharply from 3.75% last week and the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s. The 15-year mortgage, a popular refinancing option, declined to 2.94%. That's down from 2.97% last week. Rates on the 30-year loan have been below 4% since early December. The low rates are a key reason the housing industry is showing modest signs of a recovery this year. A drop in rates could also provide some help to the economy if more people refinance. When people refinance at lower rates, they pay less interest on their loans and have more money to spend. A Federal Reserve survey issued Wednesday showed the economy growing moderately in most regions of the country this spring as companies continued hiring. Manufacturing and home sales improved in most of the Fed's 12 regional districts, as did residential and commercial construction. In April, sales of both previously occupied homes and new homes rose near two-year highs. Builders are gaining more confidence in the market, breaking ground on more homes and requesting more permits to build single-family homes later this year. Mortgage applications rose by 1.3% during the week ended June 1, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday, mainly because more people applied to refinance their homes.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Home Sales in Maine Rise 8.7% From a Year Ago.

By Jessica Hall / Portland Press Herald, Maine... Home sales in Maine rose 8.7 percent in April, the ninth consecutive month of higher sales volume, according to the Maine Association of Realtors. A total of 824 homes were sold during April, up from 758 homes in April 2011. Last month’s median sale price for those homes was up 4.48 percent over April 2011, at $167,950, according to Maine Real Estate Information System Inc. "Nine consecutive months of higher (year-over-year) sales volume, plus two consecutive months of increased median sale prices, gives both buyers and sellers solid reasons to enter the market," said Tina Lucas, president of the Maine Association of Realtors. Lucas noted that much of the recent activity is from first-time home buyers. New buyers "realize now is the right time to take advantage of the historic low interest rates and attractive pricing," she said. The increases in Maine trailed the gains nationally. Sales rose 9.9 percent nationwide compared with a year earlier. The median sale price rose 10.4 percent, to $178,000, in April, according to the National Association of Realtors. In the Northeast, sales increased 19.2 percent and the median sale price rose 8.8 percent, to $256,600. "I’d expect to see national and regional housing numbers exceed Maine for some time to come because the nation and the Northeast declined further in the recession and there’s more recovery to be done," said Charles Colgan, professor of public policy and management at the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service. "Maine also has slower population growth." Home sales are driven by banks’ willingness to lend money and consumer confidence, Colgan said. "People shy away from big purchases when confidence levels are low. When confidence starts to resume, you start to see big purchases like homes and cars," Colgan said.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Jim Fullilove, Waterfront "Buyers Broker", Joins Our Team.

Jim Fullilove lived the dream that many people have of leaving the hustle-bustle of the big city behind and moving to Maine. Many years ago, he traded the congestion of the New York City area and the long commute by train to Manhattan for a 100 acre lakeside “farm” complete with apple orchard, trout stream and horse barn. Sounds great, but the move turned up a few funny missteps and some hard lessons along the way—all good things to know if you’re planning a similar move. Just ask him. Jim’s background is an interesting patchwork of magazine publishing, construction and all things related to boats. In his younger days, a stint as an equipment operator and house carpenter coupled with a penchant for journalism landed him a job as an editor with a construction magazine. A passion for sailing and the desire for a more laid-back lifestyle brought him to Maine and a job with National Fisherman and WorkBoat magazines. For the past decade or so, in his spare time he’s been editor of Marine Electronics Journal. All of this—an insider’s knowledge of home construction, a love of boats, fishing and the sea, and good communication skills—prepared him well for selling waterfront real estate in Maine, which he’s done for the past seven years. Jim works only with buyers. He prefers to deliver concierge service to clients who dream of finding the perfect waterfront property, rather than trying to serve the sellers of properties as well. Jim and his wife, Jeanne, live on a small horse farm a couple miles from Camden and Penobscot Bay. He’s still into boats and boating, only instead of the sloop he used to cruise aboard in Long Island Sound and beyond, he now messes around in sailing dinks and kayaks on the river behind his house—and takes friends up on their offers to crew aboard their larger boats every chance he gets. If you are looking for waterfront property in Maine – and would like a “Buyer’s Broker” to help you find just the right property and to represent you exclusively, contact Jim at Waterfront Properties of Maine or directly on his cell phone at (207) 542-9511 or by email at jim@homesonthewaterinmaine.com or visit his website at: http://www.homesonthewaterinmaine.com/

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Maine Home Sales Up 13% in March

SOUTH PORTLAND (April 19, 2012) — Sales of single-family existing homes in Maine increased by double-digits again in March. According to the Maine Real Estate Information System, Inc., statewide home sales increased 13.16 percent, comparing March 2012 to March 2011. This is the ninth consecutive month of positive unit sales increases. The median sales price (MSP) increased 0.19 percent to $160,000 in that same time period; the first increase since July 2011. The MSP indicates that half of the homes were sold for more and half sold for less. The National Association of Realtors reports that nationwide, single-family existing home sales rose 5.9 percent and the national MSP increased 1.9 percent to $163,600, comparing March 2012 to March 2011. Regionally, sales in the Northeast were up 5.5 percent while prices slipped 1.9 percent to $228,300 in that same time period. Tina Lucas, who serves as 2012 President of the Maine Association of Realtors, explains, “Considering the consistent increase in transaction volume over the past nine months, it seems the ‘wait and see’ attitude is waning. Many buyers recognize the real estate climate change and are now taking advantage of current market opportunities. Combined with the March increase in median sale prices -- the first since mid-2011 -- all signs are currently quite positive. A steady improvement in the market dynamic will lead to a more robust housing market, which will in turn lead to higher prices and lower inventory -- both excellent reasons for potential buyers to act sooner than later.” Lucas, adds, “Although the future of the market is challenging, if not impossible to predict, properties will sell if presented to the market in the best condition possible and are properly priced with the emphasis on accurate pricing. Choosing a Realtor with a keen knowledge of the local market area is instrumental in creating a successful transaction.”

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Good News in Home Slaes

National Association of Realtors released its pending home sales index figure last week, and for the second month in a row, the index is up. What's more, the index has broken 100. That's significant because the only other time the index has hit 100 in recent years is when the home buyer tax credit was available. "It is the natural, organic power of great affordability conditions and job creation that is bringing the index level up," says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. "This is a very encouraging sign."