Maine home sales set a new sales record in 2016 as 17,632 single family homes were sold, representing an increase of 11.1% Sales in both Cumberland and York counties established new records as well, up 2.5% and 11.2% respectively. All of Maine’s 16 counties experienced increases in 2016 vs 2015. Across the state total sales volume has improved each year from 2011 to 2016.
This sustained level of growth, however, was tempered in some communities in the greater Portland area. While Portland sales exceed 600 units sold for the first time in history, other towns fell back from 2015, as the graph below illustrates. This was direct reflection of low inventory levels and record setting sales performances in the prior year.
Focusing on Cumberland County, where growth was the lowest in the state, monthly sales exceed those of 2015 in only six months. Comparatively, in 2015 monthly sales exceed those of the prior year in ten months. In York County, where sales growth was much stronger in 2016, sales were higher in 22 of the last 24 months, compared to the previous year.
The median single family price of $189,000 represented a 5.0% increase over 2015 and was at its highest year-end level since 2007, when $194,000 was achieved. Overall, pricing was up in 12 of Maine’s 16 counties. The highest single month was June at $199,000. Between 2007 and 2011 median prices declined each year, reaching their lowest level in 2011 at $165,000. From 2012 onward, pricing has increased each year, with the exception of 2014.
Both Cumberland and York counties experienced healthy price gains in 2016. The median price of $265,000 for Cumberland County is far and away the highest in the state, followed by York County at $239,000. Monthly prices ranged from a high of $281,400 in June to a low of $230,000 in January. Pricing in 2016 was higher in each month except one versus 2015. The price variances between different parts of the state are significant, as Aroostook, Piscataquis and Washington counties are recorded median prices of less than $100,000.
Condos and townhomes represented 11.0% of the entire market, basically unchanged from 2015. Overall, the number of units sold increase 8.4%, reflecting at total of 1,922. The median price of $211,000 was up 5.5%.
The three largest markets for condos are Portland (346), Old Orchard Beach (140) and Wells (139). Of these, only Wells experienced unit growth (less than 1%) in 2016. Following several years of expansion, Portland sales declined 3.3% while prices increased 7.1% to $269,000. Portland had nine condo sales over $1 million in 2016 versus four in 2015.
Single Family Sales: Selected Counties
All housing data has been compiled from research by Maine Home Connection using information from the Maine Real Estate Information System (MREIS).
Upper End Market
Waterfront properties of all kinds are an important part of Maine real estate – whether as a permanent residence or a vacation home. Sales of oceanfront properties (owned waterfront) increased from 424 in 2015 to 538 in 2016. The median price, however, declined slightly from $510,000 to $508,000 – reflecting a higher inventory and greater competition.
The sales of lakefront properties also improved in 2016 as 1,118 properties were sold, reflecting a strong increase of 17.6%. The median price was unchanged at $220,000 and includes a wide range of properties, form camps to estates. In most cases lakefront properties are more plentiful, especially in more remote parts of the state and as a result often lower-priced.
Throughout the year, inventory remained at historic lows. This was especially true in the southern part of the state. In Cumberland County alone inventory levels in 2016 were between 10% and 20% below what they were in 2015, depending upon the month. Inventory levels of moderately priced three and four bedroom homes, in the greater Portland area, was even more acute.
In this environment of constrained inventory, it took 21 days to sell a home in Cumberland County versus 31 in 2015 at 97.1% of the original list price. In York County the DOM (Days on Market) was a bit longer at 36 days in 2016 vs 54 in 2015. The percentage of list price was 96.0%. In both cases there results were considerably better than the state wide DOM of 53.