For the fourth consecutive year, single family home sales improved in 2015. Unit sales of 15,843 represented a significant 11.1% increase over 2014 and were 8.5% ahead of 2005 – which was the current record when 14.592 homes were sold. Nearly every community in Maine, especially those in the southern part of the state, recorded unit increases in 2015 – many setting all-time record highs.
Following two years of no growth, the median selling price in Maine improved to $180,000, reflecting an increase of 2.9%. Unlike sale volume, which demonstrated improvement in all parts of the state, increases in selling prices was much more focused in specific communities, especially those that featured expanding population growth or business development. The continued improved sales activity follows several years of significant market decline in both units and pricing, and reflects a more accurate level of equilibrium and improved overall liquidity for both buyers and sellers.
As expected the highest median prices were found in southern Maine. The median price in Cumberland County end the year at $249,900, reflecting a 2.4% increase over 2014. The county also included some of the highest priced homes, notably in Falmouth, Cape Elizabeth, Yarmouth and Scarborough. York County also exceed the state average for both unit growth and selling price gain, as both improved 11.6% and 4.7% respectively. The county also featured the community with the highest selling price – Kennebunkport – which ended the year at $583,000 on 92 home sales. Both were increases over 2014 levels.
Condos represented 10.0% of the Maine real estate market in 2015, a
slight decline from 2014 and 2013. Like single family homes, condo
sales demonstrated double-digit growth, ending the year up 11.0%. While
pricing varied considerably among communities, overall condo median
pricing improved 2.6%, ending the year at $200,000. The largest
markets for condos are Portland followed by Old Orchard Beach. Not
surprisingly, pricing varies dramatically depending upon access to, and
views of, the ocean. Additionally, especially in southern Maine, there
has been an emphasis on new, in-town developments, most of which have
views of the ocean.
The chart below highlights sales in 2015 with comparisons to 2014 for the entire state and selected counties of Southern Maine.
2015 vs 2014 Home Sales
All housing data has been compiled from research by Maine Home Connection using information from the Maine Real Estate Information System (MREIS).
According to data from Maine Real Estate Information System (MREIS), home sales were higher each month of 2015 compared to similar months each year from 2011 through 2014. That is an unprecedented run of strong sales performance – leading to record setting sales. In 2015 six individual months exceededed 2014 results by 14% or greater. Two months recorded sales improvement in excess of 20%. The highest month was November, where 2015 sales exceeded 2014 by 23.2%.
Although the inventory levels decreased, the percentage of homes under contract also declined during the latter half of 2015, and ended the year at 21.7%. In December 2014 a total of 26.5% homes were pending.
Homes priced to reflect current market conditions were sold quickly – often within days. Sellers not reacting to the evolving market dynamics found that their homes lingered on the market, often well above the median DOM statistics.
Across the state the overall time to sell a home improved to 65 days. In southern Maine, however, this important statistic was considerably lower. Cumberland County was nearly half - at 31 days, while individual towns (see graph) recorded better results. Portland, the largest market, was 16 days. South Portland (14), Cape Elizabeth (27), Scarborough (20), Yarmouth (21) and many other communities all performed well.
Homes in the middle and upper price segments reported volume gains of just over 10%, while the median price of $650,000 represented a marginal increase of less than 1%. Prices in this segment were discounted from list price by 7.5%.
186 homes priced above $1,000,000 were sold in 2015 compared to 195 in 2014, yielding a small decline of 4.8% in a year of record setting sales. Southern Maiine dominated this market, with 71% of the toal. There were 15 sales in excess of $3,000,000, with the highest sale in Rockport at $7,475,000. Homes priced in the highest (luxury) segments experienced the most
volatility of any price range, with final selling prices only 86% of their
original list price.
Sales of homes priced below $250,000, which represents 77% of all sales
in Maine increased 7.9% which was below the state median. Pricing in
the segment increased only 1.5%. High priced segments across the state
experienced better price improvements in 2015.
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 510 in 2014 to 559 in 2015. The median price, however, declined 10.2%, reaching $458,000 – reflecting a higher inventory and greater competition. These sales statistics do not include properties that have water views or water access, which while not adjacent to the coastline do provide many of the attributes waterfront buyers are looking for.
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always real estate continues to be extremely local and very specific.
the differences is critical to any buying or selling decision.
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