" " " Maine's Waterfront Real Estate News: 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Maine Real Estate Sales and Prices Up

SOUTH PORTLAND (Oct. 21, 2013)— For the third consecutive month, sales of single-family existing homes resulted in a double-digit statistical gain over the prior year. Maine Listings today reported that 1,307 homes changed hands in September—a 24.59 percent jump compared to the same month one year ago. Statewide, the median sales price for those homes increased 1.76 percent to $173,000. The MSP indicates that half of the homes were sold for more and half sold for less.

According to the National Association of Realtors, home sales across the country during September 2013 rose by 10.9 percent over September 2012. The national MSP increased 11.4 percent to $199,300 in September. Regionally, home sales in the Northeast jumped 15 percent, and the regional MSP of $240,900 reflects a 2.3 percent rise in prices from a year ago.

"The extraordinarily busy summer season is beginning to wind down, and we now enter what many consider the second busiest selling time of the year—fall," said Bart Stevens, President of the Maine Association of Realtors. "Here in Maine, winter can sometimes be long, and many buyers want to be settled before the winter snows arrive. With continued low interest rates and plenty of inventory, this time of year is perfect for buyers."

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Top Three Spots to Visit in Maine This September

Pack away your beach towels and sunscreen until next year because in many parts of the country a new travel season is just about to begin. And when you thought it was about to get too cold to explore the states of New England, the beautiful fall colors on the mountains and the many shining lakes of Maine remind you that there is no better time to head north than fall. In summer, the Maine coast is known as a deserving vacation spot for those looking to have a quaint and comfortable visit on the shore, but few know that fall is when the real action begins. There is no better time to appreciate the Maine outdoors than in the Autumn months when the temperature is just right and the bulk of the tourists head south for warmer weather. Our travel experts have rounded up some of the best areas in the state to camp, hike, kayak and just enjoy the great outdoors in Maine this fall

1. The Maine Highlands: If you're looking for some elevation, try a visit to the Moosehead Lake Region in the Maine Highlands. Known as one of the best places to go moose watching, this region has lots to offer nature lovers. Moosehead Lake is easily accessible with a stay in Greenville and this region offers some fun white water rafting for all levels of experience and age groups on the Kennebec, Penobscot and Dead rivers. For those who want adventure, but prefer to stay on land, try a stay at Baxter State Park, where you can hike Maine's highest peak, Mount Katahdin, which tops out at 5,267 feet. As the northernmost point on the Appalachian Trail, a trek to Katahdin's summit is surely not for the faint of heart. Visitors are encouraged to visit the Baxter State Park Authority when planning their trips.
2. The Belgrade Lakes, Kennebec Valley: Located a mere 10 miles from the state's capital of Augusta, The Belgrade Lakes region provides the best that Maine autumn has to offer with a chain of seven freshwater lakes to explore. This region is great for people of all ages who are looking to kayak, fish, and enjoy some intermediate level hikes. With a population of only 4,000, this town just about doubles in number during the summer months, so a fall visit is the perfect time to avoid the tourist traffic. There are variety of accommodations to choose from, but one of our favorites is a cozy cabin nestled in the woods on the lake. There's nothing quite like waking up to hear the loons calling and watch the mist roll over the water. During your visit in Kennebec County, don't forget to visit one of the local apple orchards to enjoy some apple picking.

3. Rangeley Lakes Region: This region sits at the base of a popular ski spot and while the area gets more traffic in winter, the surrounding lakes are a breath-taking scenic spot in the fall. The area is home to six major lakes where visitors can chart their own paths or get a guided tour on the water from Rangeley Region Lake Cruises or in the air from Acadian Seaplanes LLC. In addition to these unique experiences, this region offers paddle tours, guided wildlife tours, and even a lakeside theater for an entertaining and artistic end to an adventurous day. Accommodations are plentiful in this region and ensure a fantastic view of the changing fall foliage.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

New Home Sales Hit 5-year High..Prices Soar.

. By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New U.S. home sales vaulted to a five-year high in June, showing no signs of slowing in the face of higher mortgage rates. Other data on Wednesday showed an acceleration in U.S. factory activity this month, boosting hopes of a third-quarter pick-up in economic growth. Single-family home sales increased 8.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 497,000 units, the highest level since May 2008, the Commerce Department said. Sales rose 1.3 percent in May. Economists polled by Reuters had expected new home sales to advance to a 482,000-unit rate last month. Compared with June last year, single-family home sales were up 38.1 percent, the largest increase since January 1992. The third straight month of gains in new home sales, which are measured when contracts are signed, suggested the housing market was gaining more muscle and should allay concerns that higher mortgage rates could slow down momentum. There had been worries that higher borrowing costs could crimp the housing market recovery after data on Monday showed a surprise drop in home resales in June. Mortgage rates have been rising in anticipation of the Federal Reserve starting to reduce its massive monetary stimulus later this year. According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate increased 0.53 percentage point in June to 4.07 percent, its highest level since October 2011. Still, mortgage rates remain low and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke last week expressed optimism the housing market recovery would continue. The strengthening housing market is lending support to manufacturing, which has been hit by deep federal government spending cuts and slowing global demand. A rebound in new orders helped to lift factory activity to a four-month high in July. Financial data firm Markit's "flash," or preliminary, U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index, rose to 53.2 this month from 51.9 in June. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the factory sector. U.S. financial markets were little moved by the data. While the inventory of new homes on the market last month increased to its highest level since August 2011, supply remains tight, putting upward pressure on prices. The median new home price increased 7.4 percent in June from a year ago. At June's sales pace it would take 3.9 months to clear the houses on the market, down from 4.2 months in May. A supply of six months is normally considered as a healthy balance between supply and demand.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Home Prices Show Largest Gain in Years

Published May 28, 2013 Associated Press WASHINGTON – U.S. home prices jumped 10.9 percent in March compared with a year ago, the most since April 2006. A growing number of buyers are bidding on a tight supply of homes, driving prices higher and helping the housing market recover. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index released Tuesday also showed that all 20 cities measured by the report posted annual gains for the third straight month . And prices rose in 15 cities in March from February. That's up from only 11 in the previous month. The monthly figures aren't seasonally adjusted and may reflect the beginning of the spring buying season. Annual prices rose in Phoenix by 22.5 percent, the biggest gain among cities. It was followed by San Francisco (22.2 percent) and Las Vegas (20.6 percent). New York City had the smallest annual increase at 2.6 percent, followed by Cleveland at 4.8 percent. The index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. It measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The March figures are the latest available. The U.S. housing market is steadily recovering, buoyed by solid job gains and near-record low mortgage rates. Sales of new homes rose in April to nearly a five-year high. And sales of previously occupied homes ticked up in April to the highest level in three and a half years

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Home Prices up 10.5% in March

Julie Schmit, USA TODAY - Home prices in March were 10.5% higher than a year ago -- and a bit more if distressed sales weren't counted, says market researcher CoreLogic. The overall change was the biggest year-over-year jump in seven years and the 13th straight month for home price gains. "The pace of appreciation has been accelerating throughout 2012 and so far in 2013," says Mark Fleming, CoreLogic chief economist. For the month, home prices increased 1.9% in March from February, CoreLogic says. Excluding distressed sales, which are short sales and foreclosures, home prices were up 10.7% year over year. Price gains will slow slightly in April, CoreLogic says. It predicts prices will rise 1.3% month to month and be 9.6% higher than a year ago. But, excluding distressed sales, it says April prices will jump 12% year over year. Different home price indexes frequently come up with different results, but the trend is clear. Last week, the Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller index of 20 cities showed February prices up 9.3% year-over-year. Contributing to higher prices is rising demand among investors and home buyers for a limited supply of homes for sale, CoreLogic says. Fewer foreclosures and other distressed homes in the market can also inflate price changes. Including distressed sales, the five states with the highest home price appreciation in March vs. March 2012 were Nevada, 22%; California, 17%; Arizona, 17%; Idaho, 15%; and Oregon, 14%, CoreLogic says. Prices were lower year over year in only four states: Delaware, down 3.7%; Alabama, down 3.1%; Illinois, which dropped 1.8%; and West Virginia, down 0.3%.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Home Prices up 9.3% in 12 Months

Julie Schmit, USA TODAY U.S. home prices in the USA's 20 biggest cities rose 9.3% in the 12 months ending in February. It was the biggest annual growth rates in almost seven years, a closely watched housing index out Tuesday said. The home price increases were solid across all 20 cities measured by the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index. The 9.3% gain was up from an 8.1% year-over-year gain in January. From January, prices rose 0.3% in February for the 20-city composite of the USA's largest metropolitan housing markets. In eight of the 20 cities, prices dipped slightly from January but all posted increases when compared to their year-ago levels. Price increases are being driven by increased demand, a tightening inventory of homes for sale and fewer foreclosed properties, which tend to sell at a discount to others. "Housing continues to be one of the brighter spots in the economy," said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


By ROBERT BUKATY Associated Press CAMDEN, Maine -- Capt. Barry King is wrapping up his “welcome aboard” speech in the galley of the schooner Mary Day when he gets around to the question everyone has regarding the trip’s itinerary. “So where are we going?” he asks rhetorically. “We’re going Camden. Should be there in three days.” In other words, there is no itinerary. All we know is that our journey will end right back here where it’s starting, in Camden Harbor. Where we go between now and then will mostly depend on the wind and weather. With no set schedule, no cell phone signal, no noisy motors, what better way to relax than on a Maine windjammer? On this sunny day in early August, the Mary Day sailed out onto picturesque Penobscot Bay. Behind us, Camden’s busy harbor, white church steeples and rounded mountains created a classic Maine backdrop. Ahead of us was Penobscot Bay, with more than 200 spruce-covered islands, making it one of the state’s finest cruising grounds. With more than 5,000 miles of jagged coastline, you’re never far from a quiet harbor or secluded cove to drop anchor and go ashore. “The beauty of it to me is every week we can go somewhere we haven’t been before,” King said. “There are always new places to explore.” Day One started out sunny, but light fog came and went throughout the day. By late afternoon we anchored off an island about 15 miles east of Camden. The all-female crew shuttled passengers ashore in rowboats. After a day of doing not much, other than helping to raise and lower the ship’s massive sails, it was time for an all-you-can-eat lobster bake on the beach. Most folks turned down the captain’s offers after eating two. David Ernest, a college student from Lynnfield, Mass., managed to polish off four. After dinner we returned to the schooner and sailed north, arriving at Buck’s Harbor after dark. The 90-foot Mary Day, which will open its 51st season in late May, is the first schooner in the Maine windjammer fleet to be built specifically to accommodate passengers. Its sleeping cabins are heated and have nine feet of headroom. Most of the Maine’s windjammers were originally designed for carrying cargo such as lumber and granite. The advent of steam-powered ships and later, the railroad, eventually put them out of the shipping business. The Mary Day is one of 10 windjammers that so far have published schedules of passenger cruises along the Maine coast this summer and early fall; all belong to the Maine Windjammer Association. We awoke on Day Two in Bucks Harbor to the smell of blueberry pancakes and fresh coffee coming from the galley. Outside, the early-morning fog was as thick as Maine chowder, so, many of the passengers went ashore to the small town of South Brooksville. The locals were celebrating the 60th anniversary of the children’s book, One Morning in Maine, which was set here by the late author and illustrator Robert McCloskey, a summer resident. By mid-morning the fog had burned off and many of the passengers decided to go swimming, some of the younger passengers climbing out onto the ship’s bowsprit before leaping some 15 feet into the chilly water. Following a macaroni and cheese lunch that one passenger said was reason enough to book a trip again next year, we headed back out on to the bay. More than a dozen harbor porpoises could be seen surfacing in the calm waters. At another point, we sailed past a rocky ledge occupied by dozens of seals. Uninhabited islands were as numerous as buoys marking lobster traps. The relatively small size of the schooner cruise tends to create camaraderie among its passengers. Whether it’s the teamwork from helping to raise the ship’s seven sails, or from sharing breakfast in the cozy main saloon, you can’t help but get to know your shipmates. These friendships and the casual atmosphere are among the reasons Donna Archibald, along with her husband and daughter, were marking their sixth cruise with the fleet. The Archibalds, from Clarks Summit, Pa., have cruised on big ships but prefer the more informal windjammers. On a cruise liner, “you’re not as laid-back as on a schooner. You’re more on the go because you want to get in your day trips to the islands. You don’t really have time to sit back and get to know everyone because they’re all busy doing something else. And there are shows and captain’s dinners, so you have to get dressed up for that,” said Archibald. “Here you kind of roll out of your bunk, spritz your hair, and you’re ready to go.” Finally, on Day Three, the captain’s prediction proved true. The Mary Day and all aboard returned to Camden Harbor, its majestic sails down and ready for the next scenic trip to nowhere along the Maine coast. Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/04/13/3338820/windjammers-offer-scenic-trips.html?story_link=email_msg#storylink=cpy

Friday, February 22, 2013

Have We Finally Hit Bottom ?

After 5 years of plunging prices and spiraling foreclosures, maybe -- just maybe -- the bubble has stopped bursting. Home prices are beginning to rebound in many parts of the country, including Maine. We all know that real estate markets are cyclical, but trying to determine the bottom of the cycle (especially after our recent "Great Recession") is alot like waiting to buy stocks at their lowest price -- investors are often left in the lurch, because when the bottom is finally recognized, the elevator is already on its way up. Taking into account current figures for the numbers of listings, foreclosures, sales and prices, we believe the bottom here in Maine occured in late Fall - early Winter of 2012. Remarkably, even though prices are back to their 1988 levels, interest rates seem to be holding at historic lows -- giving some real substance to the old real estate adage that "NOW is always the best time to buy" -- but we believe the elevators for both prices and interest rates are headed up soon. Historic Low Rates... Interest rates for a 30 fixed loan are currently around 3.5%, near the lowest ever recorded in the 40 year history of the Federal Reserve. To give you an idea what this means, at the start of the 1970's they averaged around 7% ($100,000 loan = $665 per month). During the 1990's rates averaged around 9% ($100,000 loan = $805 per month). Today at 3.5%, a $100,000 loan = $450 per month. Elevator Going Up... The chart above estimates the market value of median-priced homes over a 40-year period. The red line represents real house prices, adjusted for inflation. The blue line represent nominal house prices. As you can see, median prices were around $150,000 in the 1970's, hit a high of $300,000 in 2006, and are now around $188,000. The red and blue lines turns upward at the end of 2012 and is expected to continue this trend...